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JarMan

Joseph Smith: The World's Greatest Guesser

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15 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

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.

Rajah, you've got a few problems. 

First, the Dales were analyzing Coe's book - not cherry-picked information from the internet.  You're SE Asia exercise - as a commentary on the Dales' analysis - is a complete waste of time.

Second, to the extent that any of the particular features are common among multiple civilizations is irrelevant.  The only relevant issue is whether they were common to Joseph Smith.  For Joseph to "guess" at a particular characteristic that he was utterly unfamiliar with is still a "hit" regardless of its commonality throughout the world.  In other words, assuming that all the Mayan characteristics in the BoM applied to SE Asia, what would that tell us about JS's guesses as to SE Asia?  It would tell us that they were not guesses at all.  He necessarily received actual information from some sources (applying to the Maya) that had broader applicability (e.g. via trade, political ties, other knowledge transfers, etc.).  But that does not change that they were not "guesses."

For example, I could go and give information on how the Spaniards live to an indigent in Mexico.  He could recount what I tell him in a book with a favorable Bayesian analysis.  You however, would criticize that analysis on the basis that the Bayesian analysis would offer similar results for England, Portugal, Italy, Germany, etc.  But that would be expected where there are transfers of knowledge, or knowledge is acquired in similar circumstances (dealing with similar seasons, weather, food, resources, etc.).  This similarity does not mitigate the Bayesian implication that these are not guesses.

Lastly, any commonness of characteristics among any various civilizations is accounted for in the assigned probabilities.  If you don't like how the Dales assigned probabilities, that's fine.  Assign your own and support them.

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19 minutes ago, PacMan said:

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.

I don't think the 1 in trillion odds on those items are hyperbolic. I thought that was the point of the exercise. To use the model, tweaking the probabilities, to see if it gets different result. The Dales put Reformed Egyptian at 1/50. I put it at 1 in trillion. What about Chinese? Would that be higher or lower than Reformed Egyptian? I think we could agree Chinese would be higher probability than Reformed Egyptian. Now go and ask someone qualified to give an opinion, if you found a book from ancient Mesoamerica, what would be the probability it would be written in Chinese. They would stare at you dumbfounded. Then you would say, serious question, please answer. Would 1 in trillion be hyperbolic in that case?

As for the bold above. I agree with you, per the Dales model, there is no requirement in particular to include those data points. But there is no reason not to. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what was included and what was excluded. So I'm including it. You asked me to set up a new model. Why not list 1,000 insects and say each have a 1/10 negative correspondence for not being included? Maybe it makes sense to do that. Maybe it doesn't. But, this is what the Dales have done. There is nothing scientific about how they set up the model. They've arbitrarily set up the 130 vs 18 and then arbitrarily set up probabilities. 

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16 hours ago, JarMan said:

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.

 

You are mixing apples and oranges and it is killing your analysis.  You say, "one needs to consider all possible explanations for its origin."  The question,  however, what is "it" refer to?  You say "it" is the BoM.  To that question, yes, the question of collaborators are relevant.  But that's not the "it" we are talking about.  The material "it" is the information in the BoM (that comprise the "hits" and "misses").  And as I have (and am about to explain), potential collaborators have NO bearing on the origin of the information.

As to the origins of the Mayan information in the BoM, "someone" either made up the information (guessed), learned it through personal experience, or got it from a source (friends, family, or the divine).  Because the Maya had not yet been discovered, NO ONE (including Joseph Smith and any number of phantom collaborators) could have gotten the information from his own personal experience or any other person of the day.  Let me reiterate--the BoM was published PRIOR to the discovery of the Maya.  Thus, whether Joseph Smith did or did not use collaborators is completely irrelevant!  The analysis remains the same.  Either the information in the BoM was guesswork (Joseph or otherwise) or sourced (from the divine).  Potential collaborators have no play in that analysis.

Consequently, we are not "choosing" among "many."  The options of origin are very few--as in two (guesswork or the divine).

We are not asking the identity of the "guesser(s)" or the the "divine" messenger(s).  The Dales' analysis says NOTHING to that question.  It may be sloppy to peg Joseph as the single potential guesser or receiver of the divine.  But it doesn't change the analysis of the origins of the information.

Now, sure, the Dales do not consider aliens, oracles, or leprechauns.  I give you that.  But, given the assumption that someone (or some people) either guessed his way along in writing the BoM or received information from the divine, the answer is the latter.  That's the implication of the study.

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16 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

I don't think the 1 in trillion odds on those items are hyperbolic. I thought that was the point of the exercise. To use the model, tweaking the probabilities, to see if it gets different result. The Dales put Reformed Egyptian at 1/50. I put it at 1 in trillion. What about Chinese? Would that be higher or lower than Reformed Egyptian? I think we could agree Chinese would be higher probability than Reformed Egyptian. Now go and ask someone qualified to give an opinion, if you found a book from ancient Mesoamerica, what would be the probability it would be written in Chinese. They would stare at you dumbfounded. Then you would say, serious question, please answer. Would 1 in trillion be hyperbolic in that case?

As for the bold above. I agree with you, per the Dales model, there is no requirement in particular to include those data points. But there is no reason not to. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what was included and what was excluded. So I'm including it. You asked me to set up a new model. Why not list 1,000 insects and say each have a 1/10 negative correspondence for not being included? Maybe it makes sense to do that. Maybe it doesn't. But, this is what the Dales have done. There is nothing scientific about how they set up the model. They've arbitrarily set up the 130 vs 18 and then arbitrarily set up probabilities. 

That's fine.  You can use whatever probabilities that you want.  But the idea that a derivative of a known African language in 400BC could not possibly exist in the Americas (which is what 1:Trillion practically means) is arrogantly ridiculous.  For crying out loud, I'd put the chance of an Egyptian dictionary in a bottle making its way to the American coast and being found (from which a derivative stemmed) to something better than 1:10 million.  You're throwing out numbers that you do not understand.

As to your second paragraph, the reason you don't "list 1,000 insects" is because they're not in Coe's book.  Really, your obstinate refusal to accept what the Dales were analyzing is really, really frustrating.  You simply do not have even a basic understanding of how the Dales set up their analysis--as a critique of Coe's book.

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1 hour ago, PacMan said:

That's fine.  You can use whatever probabilities that you want.  But the idea that a derivative of a known African language in 400BC could not possibly exist in the Americas (which is what 1:Trillion practically means) is arrogantly ridiculous.  For crying out loud, I'd put the chance of an Egyptian dictionary in a bottle making its way to the American coast and being found (from which a derivative stemmed) to something better than 1:10 million.  You're throwing out numbers that you do not understand.
 

For you hypo, I think you misunderstand the probability calculation. We're not calculating the probability that an egyptian dictionary in a bottle could make its way to American coast. We're calculation probability of picking up a bottle on the American coast and then come to find out it has an egyptian dictionary in it. Much different right? 

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1 hour ago, PacMan said:

As to your second paragraph, the reason you don't "list 1,000 insects" is because they're not in Coe's book.  Really, your obstinate refusal to accept what the Dales were analyzing is really, really frustrating.  You simply do not have even a basic understanding of how the Dales set up their analysis--as a critique of Coe's book.

So the Dales included everything in Coe's book, including subtle variations?

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3 hours ago, PacMan said:

You are mixing apples and oranges and it is killing your analysis.  You say, "one needs to consider all possible explanations for its origin."  The question,  however, what is "it" refer to?  You say "it" is the BoM.  To that question, yes, the question of collaborators are relevant.  But that's not the "it" we are talking about.  The material "it" is the information in the BoM (that comprise the "hits" and "misses").  And as I have (and am about to explain), potential collaborators have NO bearing on the origin of the information.

If you want to consider a subset of the Book of Mormon, that's fine. For instance you could look at warfare, soteriology, church-state relations are any of an endless number of other things. But the fact remains you have to consider every possible explanation for the origination of that subset of information. And that means people besides Joseph.

3 hours ago, PacMan said:

As to the origins of the Mayan information in the BoM, "someone" either made up the information (guessed), learned it through personal experience, or got it from a source (friends, family, or the divine).  Because the Maya had not yet been discovered, NO ONE (including Joseph Smith and any number of phantom collaborators) could have gotten the information from his own personal experience or any other person of the day.  Let me reiterate--the BoM was published PRIOR to the discovery of the Maya.  Thus, whether Joseph Smith did or did not use collaborators is completely irrelevant!  The analysis remains the same.  Either the information in the BoM was guesswork (Joseph or otherwise) or sourced (from the divine).  Potential collaborators have no play in that analysis.

If the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction it doesn't matter whether the author knew anything about the natives of America. He would simply be writing about a civilization as he imagined it could have existed. If he was educated in the ancient classics and the bible he would naturally draw from those sources to create a story about a people who lived in essentially the same time period (but on a different continent). That is one of the many explanations for the material in the Book of Mormon not considered by the Dales' analysis.

3 hours ago, PacMan said:

Consequently, we are not "choosing" among "many."  The options of origin are very few--as in two (guesswork or the divine).

If this is going to be the dichotomy then it has to be exhaustive. The "guesswork" option has to encompass guesswork by every possible person who could have contributed. The analysis only looks at Joseph as the guesser. This is not a proper application of Bayes'.

3 hours ago, PacMan said:

We are not asking the identity of the "guesser(s)" or the the "divine" messenger(s).  The Dales' analysis says NOTHING to that question.  It may be sloppy to peg Joseph as the single potential guesser or receiver of the divine.  But it doesn't change the analysis of the origins of the information.

It is more than "sloppy" to peg Joseph as the one and only potential guesser. It is fatal to the analysis. One reason is that Joseph is not likely to have known much about ancient civilizations or really even the bible, for that matter. I have shown earlier in the thread the the "hits" identified in the article could have easily been produced by someone with a good knowledge of the ancient classics and the bible.

3 hours ago, PacMan said:

Now, sure, the Dales do not consider aliens, oracles, or leprechauns.  I give you that.  But, given the assumption that someone (or some people) either guessed his way along in writing the BoM or received information from the divine, the answer is the latter.  That's the implication of the study.

The Dales don't need to consider aliens, oracles or leprechauns. They just need to consider people. As in not just Joseph. I've essentially done the work for them on the first section in their Appendix A. Practically every "hit" evaporates.

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2 hours ago, JarMan said:

If you want to consider a subset of the Book of Mormon, that's fine. For instance you could look at warfare, soteriology, church-state relations are any of an endless number of other things. But the fact remains you have to consider every possible explanation for the origination of that subset of information. And that means people besides Joseph.

If the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction it doesn't matter whether the author knew anything about the natives of America. He would simply be writing about a civilization as he imagined it could have existed. If he was educated in the ancient classics and the bible he would naturally draw from those sources to create a story about a people who lived in essentially the same time period (but on a different continent). That is one of the many explanations for the material in the Book of Mormon not considered by the Dales' analysis.

If this is going to be the dichotomy then it has to be exhaustive. The "guesswork" option has to encompass guesswork by every possible person who could have contributed. The analysis only looks at Joseph as the guesser. This is not a proper application of Bayes'.

It is more than "sloppy" to peg Joseph as the one and only potential guesser. It is fatal to the analysis. One reason is that Joseph is not likely to have known much about ancient civilizations or really even the bible, for that matter. I have shown earlier in the thread the the "hits" identified in the article could have easily been produced by someone with a good knowledge of the ancient classics and the bible.

The Dales don't need to consider aliens, oracles or leprechauns. They just need to consider people. As in not just Joseph. I've essentially done the work for them on the first section in their Appendix A. Practically every "hit" evaporates.

I think I've said what I intend to say.  The notion that a "guesswork" option needs to encompass guesswork by every possible person who could have contributed is just false.  That's not true at all.  The reason is, we aren't trying to identify an individual in this analysis.  We only want to measure whether the origin was divine or not.  And we can do that with two exhaustive options. 

But you can believe what you would like to believe.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, churchistrue said:

So the Dales included everything in Coe's book, including subtle variations?

If you would actually read their analysis, you'd know.

Edited by PacMan

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6 hours ago, PacMan said:

First, the Dales were analyzing Coe's book - not cherry-picked information from the internet.  You're SE Asia exercise - as a commentary on the Dales' analysis - is a complete waste of time.

To make my point further, what of these parallels are unique to ancient America? How many ancient civilizations had “political factions organized around a member of the elite”? How many ancient civilizations had “foreigners move in and take over government, often as family dynasties”? How many ancient civilizations had “city administrative area with bureaucrats and aristocrats”? How many ancient civilizations required tribute of conquered peoples? How many ancient civilizations had “political power is exercised by family dynasties”? I could go on. These all seem like the bread and butter of heavily peopled regions of the ancient world, both in the new world and in the old world.

In short, if we were to find a detailed textbook about the ancient peoples and civilizations of India, and run a Bayesian analysis on the correspondences between ancient India and the Book of Mormon (weighed against explicit contradictions in the two books), could we draw the same conclusions as the authors did? I’m certain we could find 100+ such correspondences. And of those things that didn’t line up, I’m certain we could leave them out of the analysis for reasons mentioned above: unless the texts explicitly contradict, we ignore anything that doesn’t correspond. And so when we stack these against other and discover that there’s an umpteen trillion, trillion to one probability that the Book of Mormon didn’t take place in ancient India, we might start to wonder a bit at whether this analysis is telling us what we think it is. (source)

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8 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

To make my point further, what of these parallels are unique to ancient America? How many ancient civilizations had “political factions organized around a member of the elite”? How many ancient civilizations had “foreigners move in and take over government, often as family dynasties”? How many ancient civilizations had “city administrative area with bureaucrats and aristocrats”? How many ancient civilizations required tribute of conquered peoples? How many ancient civilizations had “political power is exercised by family dynasties”? I could go on. These all seem like the bread and butter of heavily peopled regions of the ancient world, both in the new world and in the old world.

In short, if we were to find a detailed textbook about the ancient peoples and civilizations of India, and run a Bayesian analysis on the correspondences between ancient India and the Book of Mormon (weighed against explicit contradictions in the two books), could we draw the same conclusions as the authors did? I’m certain we could find 100+ such correspondences. And of those things that didn’t line up, I’m certain we could leave them out of the analysis for reasons mentioned above: unless the texts explicitly contradict, we ignore anything that doesn’t correspond. And so when we stack these against other and discover that there’s an umpteen trillion, trillion to one probability that the Book of Mormon didn’t take place in ancient India, we might start to wonder a bit at whether this analysis is telling us what we think it is. (source)

Yes, you could draw that conclusion.  So pick a text book and run the analysis.

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7 hours ago, PacMan said:

Because the Maya had not yet been discovered, NO ONE (including Joseph Smith and any number of phantom collaborators) could have gotten the information from his own personal experience or any other person of the day.  Let me reiterate--the BoM was published PRIOR to the discovery of the Maya

They might not have called them Maya but the Spaniards were writing about the political, cultural, and religious practices of the natives of Guatemala and Mexico since the early 16th century. Those pre-BoM accounts are full of correspondences with Coe's book and the Book of Mormon.

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58 minutes ago, PacMan said:

We only want to measure whether the origin was divine or not.

Yes. This is an appropriately exhaustive dichotomy. It is either divine or not. There are no other options.

59 minutes ago, PacMan said:

And we can do that with two exhaustive options. 

No. Neither option can be exhaustive on its own. If one option was exhaustive it would be true by default. The pair together has to be exhaustive, meaning that one or the other is certain to be true. "Divine or not" (as above) is exhaustive. One choice must be true. "Divine or Joseph guessed it" is not exhaustive. As I've mentioned, someone else could have made it up. The authors clearly didn't consider this in their analysis.

I would love the Book of Mormon to be an actual ancient record. I really would. As such, I thoroughly enjoy good, apologetic scholarship toward that end. But bad apologetics gives believers a false sense of security in their belief and casts a cloud over good scholarship. Apologists have done a lot of good work to help people believe when they have doubts. I'm happy for that. But I don't think it's ethical to use bad scholarship in apologetics. . . even if it helps people to believe. Ultimately that's why I believe this paper needs to be withdrawn.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/4/2019 at 9:40 PM, JarMan said:

The general statistical concept is sound. And I have no reason to reject the Mesoamerican descriptions. But there are some obvious errors having to do with the Book of Mormon and Biblical history. For example, in Section 1.18 of Appendix A the paper claims "the doings of the kings were kept separately from the rest of the history of a people" in regard to the Book of Mormon. This is an incorrect description of the Book of Mormon records. The records of the kings were part of the large plates which contained a record of the secular history of the people. So the record of the kings was kept with the record of the people, not separately, as claimed.

I don't see this as an error.  It was true for hundreds of years.  And later, it was a combination of things (just a theory).

The small and large plates were kept separate until King Benjamin or Mosiah.  That was for hundreds of years.

After that, the keeping of the large plates served as a record of the people in general (which would have included much about the king).  But could not the king have ordered a scribe to keep a record of the activities of the king?  It seems obvious that such a practice would have been pretty much a given.  What makes the separation peculiar is not that there was a record of the king, but that there was a record of the people.  The record of kings is very common in all cultures.  But a separate record of the people?  The Nephites had a reason to keep such a record.  The fact they did so actually fits nicely with this claim of dual records.

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In addition, there are some bizarre arguments based on the use of certain words. For example, Section 1.26 focuses on the word "seating" to show a correspondence regarding kings rising to power. It's true that both Coe and the Book of Mormon use "seating" to describe kings coming to power. Given that this is a normal use of the word, it is unclear why the use of "seating" is thought to be significant.

It is not as common to European speech.  It is more common in Middle Eastern thought.  European is more commonly "crowned" or some derivation of it. 

Then there is the use of "sat" during one's tenure vs. "ruled".

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Section 1.33 makes a similar claim based on the word "possess" in relation to lands that are ruled by a dominant power. The paper does nothing to show why this might be an unexpected use of the word. Even if they could make that case, it would be a meaningless distinction unless they were trying to show that Coe's book was based on the Book of Mormon. 

Again, it is about European vs Middle Eastern.  European would be "hold" rather than "possess".  However, I don't see this as a significant difference.  Such a dichotomy is easily explained by a simple choice in translation.

On 5/4/2019 at 4:27 AM, JarMan said:

By focusing on ancient Mesoamerica the authors of this article have completely missed the more obvious and more numerous similarities with the ancient Mediterranean world.

I see you came to the same conclusion.

On 5/4/2019 at 4:27 AM, JarMan said:

As such, the entire premise of the paper (the Book of Mormon is historical) is severely undermined.

Why would it undermine it.  Isn't the claim of the BoM that the Nephites came from the Mediterranean?

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There are many more criticisms that can be made. I've come to really enjoy the weekly publications in the Interpreter and, in general, they have been of very high quality. This is no doubt related to the peer review process (not to mention the quality of authors they attract). But they've let a questionable work slip through here.

I haven't heard of this site (The Interpreter).  I'll give it a go.  Thanks.

Edited by Carborendum

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11 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

They might not have called them Maya but the Spaniards were writing about the political, cultural, and religious practices of the natives of Guatemala and Mexico since the early 16th century. Those pre-BoM accounts are full of correspondences with Coe's book and the Book of Mormon.

CFR that the accounts carried the Mayan characteristics in Coe’s book AND that Joseph was aware of them. 

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

Why would it undermine it.  Isn't the claim of the BoM that the Nephites came from the Mediterranean?

The methodology of the paper assumes one of two things happened: either the Book of Mormon is authentic, or Joseph Smith made a series of independent "guesses" about Mayan culture. When comparing the made-up odds of how likely Joseph Smith could "guess" details like "trading in a variety of goods" (Correspondence 6.10, score 0.10), they don't consider the possibility that this is very generic and might fit into the culture described in the Bible which the author would have been trying to emulate.

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11 hours ago, JarMan said:

Yes. This is an appropriately exhaustive dichotomy. It is either divine or not. There are no other options.

No. Neither option can be exhaustive on its own. If one option was exhaustive it would be true by default. The pair together has to be exhaustive, meaning that one or the other is certain to be true. "Divine or not" (as above) is exhaustive. One choice must be true. "Divine or Joseph guessed it" is not exhaustive. As I've mentioned, someone else could have made it up. The authors clearly didn't consider this in their analysis.

I would love the Book of Mormon to be an actual ancient record. I really would. As such, I thoroughly enjoy good, apologetic scholarship toward that end. But bad apologetics gives believers a false sense of security in their belief and casts a cloud over good scholarship. Apologists have done a lot of good work to help people believe when they have doubts. I'm happy for that. But I don't think it's ethical to use bad scholarship in apologetics. . . even if it helps people to believe. Ultimately that's why I believe this paper needs to be withdrawn.

Then we disagree. 

Whether the Dales ran the study as Joseph being the single guesser or not is immaterial because the results can be adjusted to include the exhaustive options as “any number of guessers” v. the divine. That’s what I’ve advocated from the beginning. And because Mayan were unknown, that’s how we know these options are exhaustive - unless you want to include leprechauns and crystal balls. 

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15 minutes ago, PacMan said:

CFR that the accounts carried the Mayan characteristics in Coe’s book AND that Joseph was aware of them. 

Huh?
No no.

CFR that the Maya had not yet been discovered before the publication of the Book of Mormon as you claimed.
CFR that the BoM was published PRIOR to the discovery of the Maya.
CFR that the 16th to 19th century accounts of the Maya were unknown to Joseph, or anybody in his orbit.

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Posted (edited)

Hope it's okay to ask this here. I just read something to spark my memory of an old question I've had. Why is the scripture every missionary shares in lessons and found in Moroni 10:4 sound the opposite to me? Meaning, shouldn't it say "if these things are true;"? Not, "not true"

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are NOT TRUE; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Edited by Tacenda

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Analytics said:

The methodology of the paper assumes one of two things happened: either the Book of Mormon is authentic, or Joseph Smith made a series of independent "guesses" about Mayan culture. When comparing the made-up odds of how likely Joseph Smith could "guess" details like "trading in a variety of goods" (Correspondence 6.10, score 0.10), they don't consider the possibility that this is very generic and might fit into the culture described in the Bible which the author would have been trying to emulate.

Two things:

1) So, you're saying that it is inspired if it was from Mayan Culture, but it is NOT inspired if it was from Ancient Israel's culture.  (I'm not being sarcastic.  I just want to be clear about what you're saying).
2) How many times do you see "seated" used in the Old Testament?  How many instances is the word "seat" used as the throne or place of power? (apart from the "mercy seat").

So, even if it were directly copied from Mediterranean culture, where would Joseph Smith (or, as you purport, this mystery third party cultural polyglot) have gotten it from?  It's not in the Bible.

Edited by Carborendum

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8 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Hope it's okay to ask this here. I just read something to spark my memory of an old questioon I've had. Why is the scripture every missionary shares in lessons and found in Moroni 10:4 sound the opposite to me? Meaning, shouldn't it say "if these things are true;"? Not, "not true"

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are NOT TRUE; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

This is nothing more than 19th century phraseology.  It means the same thing as the question asked without the "not".

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3 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

This is nothing more than 19th century phraseology.  It means the same thing as the question asked without the "not".

Oh, 19th century? Thanks!

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11 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

So, even if it were directly copied from Mediterranean culture, where would Joseph Smith (or, as you purport, this mystery third party cultural polyglot) have gotten it from?  It's not in the Bible.

I think the point is that unless you do the investigation of alternative interpretations you can't really treat the element as anything more than a very subjective guess. A lot of ANE elements persisted in Joseph's environment due to commentaries, masonic elements or even direct Jewish influences. (There were significant attempts at Jewish immigration to New York) There was more around than I think many realize even if some critics attempts at reduction fail or seem implausible.

Really the whole approach at Bayesianism here looks like it's objective in some sense but is really just a way of formalizing very subjective inferences.

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58 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Huh?
No no.

CFR that the Maya had not yet been discovered before the publication of the Book of Mormon as you claimed.
CFR that the BoM was published PRIOR to the discovery of the Maya.
CFR that the 16th to 19th century accounts of the Maya were unknown to Joseph, or anybody in his orbit.

Really? If you don’t know the historical basics of what we are talking about then we shouldn’t be discussing. Google Stephens and Catherwood. This is well-known historical information. 

That you are asking me to prove a negative demonstrates the ridiculous weakness of your position. 

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