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Deutro-Isaiah question?

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9 hours ago, USU78 said:

Absolutely this ^.

If the theory more easily explains the data, then it's a good theory.  If all it does is provide as plausible an explanation as JSJr's own explanation of the data, then it's a "meh" theory.  If it is less likely to explain the data, then it's a bad theory.  I vote for "meh."

We can't meaningfully compare a supernatural explanation of events and an naturalistic explanation of events using terms like "less likely" or "more likely." These are two different categories. Supernatural events either happen or they don't. And even if they do happen, we still can't quantify the likelihood of certain supernatural events occurring. So I'm not trying to give a "better" explanation of the origins of the Book of Mormon. I'm simply giving an explanation that can (and should) be tested using methods that have been used for other documents. 

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9 hours ago, JarMan said:

We can't meaningfully compare a supernatural explanation of events and an naturalistic explanation of events using terms like "less likely" or "more likely." These are two different categories. Supernatural events either happen or they don't. And even if they do happen, we still can't quantify the likelihood of certain supernatural events occurring. So I'm not trying to give a "better" explanation of the origins of the Book of Mormon. I'm simply giving an explanation that can (and should) be tested using methods that have been used for other documents. 

All due respect, but upon learning what your theory requires, it looks no white less supernatural to me.

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3 hours ago, USU78 said:

All due respect, but upon learning what your theory requires, it looks no white less supernatural to me.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. 

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On 7/12/2019 at 10:28 PM, JarMan said:

The issue of the seer stone and treasure seeking is a tough one. It seems like people are willing to accept the seer stone when it comes to the Book of Mormon but aren't so sure when it comes to other things. Maybe there's some nuanced explanation for all of this, but in my mind you either have to accept it all or reject it all (the use of the seer stone, that is). If Joseph has the ability to deceive witnesses when using the seer stone to look for treasure, doesn't that indicate he might have the ability to deceive them in dictating the Book of Mormon?

I haven't studied the issue of the seer stone and treasure seeking very much, and certainly not thoroughly. I don't like to state mere opinions about important matters. People deserve better. It's not a priority for me now, so I presently have nothing valuable to add to the subject.

In the domain I have some expertise in, I know that the general public continues to be presented with bad information. This mostly comes, unfortunately, from the unstudied opinions of established Latter-day Saint scholars. Misinformation is disseminated on the subject, and some of it is done so for political / academic purposes. I only know of a few people who take the subject seriously, and I could add you as another who has taken some lexical usage seriously.

If I refused to accept that the Lord could have delivered the text to Joseph Smith (2n2724), then I would be willing to fall back to a position similar to the one you take. But if I accept the possibility that the Lord could have delivered Joseph the text, then I don't accept the kind of position you favor, since it requires a chain of highly unlikely events.

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On 7/14/2019 at 5:13 PM, champatsch said:

I haven't studied the issue of the seer stone and treasure seeking very much, and certainly not thoroughly. I don't like to state mere opinions about important matters. People deserve better. It's not a priority for me now, so I presently have nothing valuable to add to the subject.

In the domain I have some expertise in, I know that the general public continues to be presented with bad information. This mostly comes, unfortunately, from the unstudied opinions of established Latter-day Saint scholars. Misinformation is disseminated on the subject, and some of it is done so for political / academic purposes. I only know of a few people who take the subject seriously, and I could add you as another who has taken some lexical usage seriously.

If I refused to accept that the Lord could have delivered the text to Joseph Smith (2n2724), then I would be willing to fall back to a position similar to the one you take. But if I accept the possibility that the Lord could have delivered Joseph the text, then I don't accept the kind of position you favor, since it requires a chain of highly unlikely events.

I've been a member of this forum since 2006. I am quite sure that I have defended the traditional explanation of the Book of Mormon on multiple occasions by saying something along the lines of, "Angels and seer stones seem more likely than any of the critical explanations (like Joseph or one of his associates made it up) so the Book of Mormon is more likely to be historical than fiction." Not that this is your argument exactly, but I was making a logical fallacy I was not aware of at the time. A statement of likelihood between a supernatural and a natural process is nonfalsifiable. . . so. . . basically meaningless. . . except as a way of affirming my own beliefs.

My Grotian hypothesis may seem unlikely based on the idea that a secret manuscript had to translated, hidden for 180 years or so, reworked, transported across the Atlantic Ocean at some point, and somehow get into Joseph's hands. If we compare this to how most books were produced in 1829 the hypothesis looks very unlikely. But this is the wrong comparison. Instead, we should examine the alternate idea that a set of 60-80 pound gold plates was transported from Mesoamerica to Upstate New York by a single man--a sole survivor--dodging a vast army and other dangers along the way to deposit the plates (not to mention the other artifacts) under a boulder to remain hidden and undisturbed for 1400 years. Talk about a chain of highly unlikely events.

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps the plates were transported much closer to the 1820s by others. We have no way of knowing.

Speculation other than the words being dictated by God is your interest. Yet the dictation witnesses don't provide evidence that encourages speculation along those lines.

It is possible to see some value in your speculation as an exploration into how an English-language translation directed by the Lord might have proceeded.

Edited by champatsch
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14 hours ago, JarMan said:

 A statement of likelihood between a supernatural and a natural process is nonfalsifiable. . . so. . . basically meaningless. . . except as a way of affirming my own beliefs.

I confess I don't see why you think it unfalsifiable depending upon what methodology you permit. (Me being a bit pedantic - but I think it an important point)

To your other point again I think you're comparing the wrong theory. The theory you have to compare yours to is Vogel's. Which is more likely?

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I confess I don't see why you think it unfalsifiable depending upon what methodology you permit. (Me being a bit pedantic - but I think it an important point)

I'm assuming it is impossible to say with any amount of certainty anything about the existence of the supernatural. If that is true then we can't say whether a supernatural event is likely or unlikely.

2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

To your other point again I think you're comparing the wrong theory. The theory you have to compare yours to is Vogel's. Which is more likely?

I don't disagree with you that it needs to be compared against Vogel. However, several traditional believers have said how unlikely they think my theory is. So I'm asking: unlikely compared to what? If compared to how books are normally written then I agree. But if compared to how the Book of Mormon is claimed to have been written (not the supernatural part, but the part about a 4th Century Lehite slogging across a continent to bury the plates) then I disagree. Rejecting a given hypothesis because it seems unlikely is a bit myopic if your own hypothesis also seems unlikely.

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1 minute ago, JarMan said:

I'm assuming it is impossible to say with any amount of certainty anything about the existence of the supernatural. If that is true then we can't say whether a supernatural event is likely or unlikely.

I don't disagree with you that it needs to be compared against Vogel. However, several traditional believers have said how unlikely they think my theory is. So I'm asking: unlikely compared to what? If compared to how books are normally written then I agree. But if compared to how the Book of Mormon is claimed to have been written (not the supernatural part, but the part about a 4th Century Lehite slogging across a continent to bury the plates) then I disagree. Rejecting a given hypothesis because it seems unlikely is a bit myopic if your own hypothesis also seems unlikely.

Well this gets us into how one confirms "the supernatural." (Put in scare quotes since I think the Mormon conception isn't supernatural in the Humean sense) It seems to me that you're presuming the so-called supernatural is unknowable.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Well this gets us into how one confirms "the supernatural." (Put in scare quotes since I think the Mormon conception isn't supernatural in the Humean sense) It seems to me that you're presuming the so-called supernatural is unknowable.

Right. Unknowable in a mathematical sense (which is the sense I mean when we talk about whether something is likely or unlikely).

Edited by JarMan

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15 hours ago, JarMan said:

I'm assuming it is impossible to say with any amount of certainty anything about the existence of the supernatural. If that is true then we can't say whether a supernatural event is likely or unlikely.

I don't disagree with you that it needs to be compared against Vogel. However, several traditional believers have said how unlikely they think my theory is. So I'm asking: unlikely compared to what? If compared to how books are normally written then I agree. But if compared to how the Book of Mormon is claimed to have been written (not the supernatural part, but the part about a 4th Century Lehite slogging across a continent to bury the plates) then I disagree. Rejecting a given hypothesis because it seems unlikely is a bit myopic if your own hypothesis also seems unlikely.

If we speculate about the plates being transported thousands of miles, then we are speculating within the confines of the tale. And so, there didn't need to be a 4th-century Lehite traveling the continent with heavy plates. The Three Nephites, who, according to the tale, were watching over Moroni (mn0811), would have been watching over the plates, because of their value. They could have assisted Moroni at the end of his life. At a minimum, they would have known where the plates were buried. Around 1820, once it was ascertained that Joseph Smith was a likely recipient, they could have transported the plates long distances and buried them within miles of where he was living.

Outside of the tale, rejecting the tale, we need skilled craftsmen manufacturing heavy, engraved plates. Or we need a complete conspiracy. If we get down to the details, then we see how skilled the craftsmen needed to be, and how much time and money they needed to invest.

If we get down to the details of the Book of Mormon's language, then we see how knowledgeable whoever put the language together needed to be, how much literature and prior usage they needed to know. So that rules out strictly modern composition by anyone associated with the dictation. You've gone to a logical point, positing early modern composition, if logistically very difficult.

 

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17 hours ago, JarMan said:

Right. Unknowable in a mathematical sense (which is the sense I mean when we talk about whether something is likely or unlikely).

Not sure what you mean by that.

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2 hours ago, champatsch said:

If we speculate about the plates being transported thousands of miles, then we are speculating within the confines of the tale. And so, there didn't need to be a 4th-century Lehite traveling the continent with heavy plates. The Three Nephites, who, according to the tale, were watching over Moroni (mn0811), would have been watching over the plates, because of their value. They could have assisted Moroni at the end of his life. At a minimum, they would have known where the plates were buried. Around 1820, once it was ascertained that Joseph Smith was a likely recipient, they could have transported the plates long distances and buried them within miles of where he was living.

Outside of the tale, rejecting the tale, we need skilled craftsmen manufacturing heavy, engraved plates. Or we need a complete conspiracy. If we get down to the details, then we see how skilled the craftsmen needed to be, and how much time and money they needed to invest.

If we get down to the details of the Book of Mormon's language, then we see how knowledgeable whoever put the language together needed to be, how much literature and prior usage they needed to know. So that rules out strictly modern composition by anyone associated with the dictation. You've gone to a logical point, positing early modern composition, if logistically very difficult.

These thing are fun to speculate about. Early on my theory was that an early modern English-speaking person was led by inspiration (or maybe by an angel) to the plates in New York and translated them using the interpreters. This makes some sense since the area around Cumorah was being explored and settled by the English in the mid-1600's. In the translation process, according to my early theory, the translator expanded on the text in the same way Ostler proposes Joseph had done. This accounted for the early modern ideas (such as those identified by Skousen), the KJB, and many of the anachronisms. Then the translator put the plates back in the hill and hid the manuscript. When Joseph came along he used the seer stone to read the translation that had been done two centuries earlier in the same way that he was able to read the writings of John in D&C 7. It seems to fit together pretty nicely.

So I began studying early modern history to try and identify early modern expansions (this was actually before I became aware that Skousen had already identified several). What I ended up finding was that everything in the Book of Mormon was consistent with early modern Europe (as far as I can tell). At the same time I also started studying biblical scholarship a little bit and the history of the ANE. I begin seeing that the Lehites did not act like ancient Israelites, nor did the theology or scriptural interpretation offered by the Book of Mormon prophets reflect ancient Israelite thinking. The theology and biblical thinking in the Book of Mormon, however, does precisely reflect early modern thinking. In my larger studies I came across ancient Roman historical accounts that resembled things in the Book of Mormon. On close examination I found several events described by ancient Roman historians that clearly relate to the Book of Mormon narrative in a detailed and striking manner. (I will be publishing a paper on this subject at some point.) The study of classical Rome was, of course, very common among early modern scholars.

Based on this combined evidence I decided to develop an additional hypothesis. I didn't abandon my faith in the Book of Mormon or in supernatural events. Instead I decided to compartmentalize my faith and to approach Book of Mormon authorship from a purely scholarly perspective. The idea is to try to explain the Book of Mormon using purely naturalistic causes. In my mind we can study evolution or cosmology using the same approach. I haven't abandoned by faith in a divine Creator, but I think evolution is the best model for explaining the variety of life on this earth (including humans) and the fossil record. Some people can fuse these ideas together in their minds using ideas of Intelligent Design or something else. I cannot. I just accept the seeming contradictions without trying too hard to harmonize faith and science.

I understand the hesitance of traditional believers to take this approach with the Book of Mormon. But one thing I've learned from studying the 17th Century is that important human progress and knowledge comes from taking a rationalistic approach to studying the universe. It may make us uncomfortable, but I think it's essential for human advancement.

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Not sure what you mean by that.

I mean that the universe can be described with mathematics after careful observation and measurement. We don't have careful observation and measurement with the supernatural so we cannot describe it mathematically. If we cannot describe it mathematically we cannot talk about its likelihood since likelihood (or probability) is a mathematical concept.

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Oh, so you're talking mathematical representation, not whether it's knowable the way a mathematical proof is knowable. I'd agree, although I don't think that particularly matters. I'd add that many places particularly in the social sciences where math is used, the things known aren't really known mathematically. Put an other way even when mathematics, particularly statistics, enables knowledge it doesn't mean the object of knowledge is mathematical the way say the properties of subatomic particles are mathematical. 

Edited by clarkgoble
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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

Oh, so you're talking mathematical representation, not whether it's knowable the way a mathematical proof is knowable. I'd agree, although I don't think that particularly matters. I'd add that many places particularly in the social sciences where math is used, the things known aren't really known mathematically. Put an other way even when mathematics, particularly statistics, enables knowledge it doesn't mean the object of knowledge is mathematical the way say the properties of subatomic particles are mathematical. 

What I'm trying to say is that unless we can observe something and describe one or more of its properties we cannot compare it to something that does have observable properties, except in an abstract way. The idea of "likelihood" is not an abstraction. It's dependent on having observable properties (whether or not we know those properties or how to describe them). We can compare things in the social sciences (even though we can't necessarily describe human behavior mathematically) because we can observe and describe human behavior.

Edited by JarMan

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Larry La Mar Adams in his essay, "A Scientific Analysis of Isaiah Authorship", wrote the following:

 

>>The statistical results in this study do not support the divisionists’ claim that little or no evidence exists for unity of the book of Isaiah. To the contrary, the results strongly support single authorship of the book. The divisions of the book most often claimed to have been written by different authors were found to be more similar to each other in authorship style than to any of the control group of eleven other Old Testament books. The book of Isaiah also exhibited greater internal consistency than any of the other books when authorship style was analyzed.>> (Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament, p. 160 - https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/isaiah-and-prophets-inspired-voices-old-testament/scientific-analysis-isaiah-authorship)

 

Adams' essay was based on his BYU doctoral dissertation, "A Statistical Analysis of the Book of Isaiah in Relation to the Isaiah Problem" (1972).

 

I would love to read his dissertation, but unfortunately, have not been able to locate an online source for it. Wondering if someone has been more successful..

 

 

Grace and peace,

 

David

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Hello aussieguy,

Could you provide Andersen's full context and a link to it?

Grace and peace,

David

 

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On 7/13/2019 at 5:45 AM, USU78 said:

All due respect, but upon learning what your theory requires, it looks no white less supernatural to me.

To me the very notion of "supernatural" takes itself outside the category of "natural" and therefore outside that which even could be considered "likely"

To me, it is a mass of confusion. ;)

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