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Ryan Dahle

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Everything posted by Ryan Dahle

  1. It seems like this same scenario plays out over and over, where someone isolates one example that they think significantly thwarts the preponderance of the evidence for EModE, and then it turns out that the usage's purported persistence in later texts is either completely erroneous or very much inflated in frequency and significance. For me, watching these conversations repeat themselves in the same fashion over a long period of time has done nothing but strengthen the case for the prevalence of EModE in the text. The more textual evidence and data we have, the stronger the theory becomes
  2. To favor the option that is unreasonable is a problem. I'd be curious, though, what you have in mind as to a valid explanation that is not naturalistic. I have lots of reasons (spiritual and scientific) for believing Joseph Smith was a prophet, and lots of reasons for believing the Book of Abraham reflects authentically ancient content, most of which (unlike the Sobek issue) Joseph Smith probably couldn't have known about. So, for me, I am persuaded that Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Abraham and his explanations of its facsimiles were facilitated through God's mirac
  3. Your bias in favor of naturalism seems to explain a lot about how you disproportionately weight the evidence. Two options, both of which offer potentially valid explanations, and you favor the naturalistic explanation 999 to 1. Interesting.
  4. So, is it your position that a plausible alternative explanation for any given evidence renders it as essentially moot. I noticed, for instance, that you gave a .01% for the Sobek connection because Joseph Smith could theoretically have seen that in Clark's commentary. Of course, there is no way to know for sure if Joseph came across that in Clark's commentary (there is actually ongoing debate about how significantly he may have drawn from it). But the possibility that he did renders the evidence as essentially a 1/1000 for you?
  5. Things that seem to be ancient, from a relevant milieu, and that are unlikely or less likely to be known or guessed by Joseph Smith. For instance, Joseph Smith's explanation of Facsimile 6: https://www.pearlofgreatpricecentral.org/the-four-sons-of-horus-facsimile-2-figure-6/ Or his explanation of facsimile 5: https://www.pearlofgreatpricecentral.org/the-hathor-cow-facsimile-2-figure-5/
  6. I wasn't asking about historicity. I intentionally used the term "antiquity." Fair enough.
  7. I'm not "asking" for evidence. I'm asking what another person's position is on the evidence for antiquity. It is my assumption that historicity can't be proven by the available evidence, but it is also my assumption that certain types of evidence for antiquity can simultaneously increase the plausibility for historicity and for a miraculous translation.
  8. Of course, you would also have to intentionally ignore (or unintentionally be ignorant of) the many lines of evidence that argue against Joseph Smith as having been the author. And there are many of those lines of evidence. Which, then places critics in a bind because the eye-witness and manuscript data are all in favor of Joseph Smith having dictated the text to various scribes between April 7 and Jun 30, 1829. So we end up with the historical evidence overwhelmingly in favor of Joseph producing the words of the Book of Mormon, but the textual data just as strongly indicating that he could ha
  9. So, is it your position that there is no evidence supporting the antiquity of the Book of Abraham?
  10. I think your idiosyncratic usage is built on a logical fallacy and is therefore unhelpful in discussing your views with those who don't share your assumptions.
  11. Well, obviously there is more than one definition to these terms, but I think your lack of distinction isn't a typical one. Most definitions of atheism construe it as more than a mere "lack of belief either way". For example: from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atheism-agnosticism/#DefiAthe In other words, your definition seems to be atypical and not the norm.
  12. The problem is with your verbiage. You seem to recognize that you can't "prove" God doesn't exist, but you also seem to feel justified in claiming that he doesn't exist based on a mere absence of evidence. That, of course, is the typical challenge for hardline atheism and why many people instead opt for agnosticism. It is illogical to categorically deny the existence of something as potentially elusive as God. Your statement that "he does not exist because there is not valid reason to show he does exist" is not logical. All anyone can reasonably say is that they don't believe God exists or tha
  13. I think I misread you, initially, so it wasn't a deflection, just a misunderstanding on my part. I thought you were saying that science can't prove a negative, but that's not what you said. As for burdens, that is really a matter of perspective. You claim that God doesn't exist. So if you wanted to support that claim and convince others of its truthfulness, you would have a burden to prove your assertion. Likewise, if someone claims that God exists and wants to convince others of that assertion, then they have a burden to provide evidence for their claim. What types of evidences (scienti
  14. To the contrary, science can in some cases provide strong evidence that certain types of things do not exist in certain contexts. For instance, science can fairly conclusively rule out the possibility that someone is inebriated by administering a test to measure their blood-alcohol content. In other words, science can indeed prove the negative in many contexts. It just depends on the context and what is trying to be proved. When it comes to God, science can currently neither prove nor disprove his existence. That, of course, doesn't mean that God doesn't exist. Your assertion that he doe
  15. You can add this to your list: "Each of us must accommodate the mixture of reason and revelation in our lives. The gospel not only permits but requires it. An individual who concentrates on either side solely and alone will lose both balance and perspective." - Elder Boyd K. Packer
  16. Yeah. I know. But that person probably doesn't know much or anything at all about eastern Asia or southern Africa or the Americas. So ancient data from those regions is probably about is good as data from beyond the mid-17th century. I've shown this to others who think it's very significant. Well, and now you've shown it to people who don't find it very significant, for the specific reasons stated previously. I think here is where your comparisons have lots of problems with important differences with the things being compared. Just like you balked when I used th
  17. As I said, I think that path would be ideal for the reasons you have stated. But it is also less ideal in the sense that if the Book of Mormon is what Joseph Smith understood it to be (an account of ancient American inhabitants) then a lack of a good match in modern cultures would not by any means rule out the other primary theory which competes with your own. Modern "robbers," coups, and assassination attempts may not have the same degree of clustering as ancient stories. Who knows, maybe they do. I have no idea. I wasn't sure what I would find, but John of Gischala actually matches up w
  18. On the contrary. Josephus says this was precisely his intent: "and, as he supposed, that if he could once overthrow Josephus, he should himself obtain the government of Galilee"
  19. That's fine. As I said, I disagree with some of your scoring as well. As for John's flight, I'm thinking of his flight to (not from) Gischala. An informant (Silas) reveals to Josephus that John is plotting against him (after the first plot failed). Josephus then marches upon Tiberias where John is conspiring against him. John sends men to assassinate Josephus, but people in the crowd warn Josephus and he barely escapes. But then John's cover is blown and the people generally become aware of his plots. So he has to flee Tiberias and escape to Gischala. You are right on this. Rath
  20. Isn't that what I have been saying all along. Your concept of "Specificity" wasn't specific enough. I would say it is important to look at how specifically accurate and granular a comparison is. Meaning what are the precise similarities and relevant differences between the things being compared? I'm not talking about random narrative differences here. I mean differences that are specific to the comparison itself. Saying that someone (Claudius) fled after an assassination attempt, is a lot different than saying specifically that the leader of the conspiracy fled (like Gadianton or Catilin
  21. Well, if you want to make an overall assessment of the strength of your list, you have to first evaluate each of the parallels individually. If they aren't that good, then the clustering doesn't matter very much. Simply repeating your list, and avoiding the complicated work of evaluating the strength of your individual parallels doesn't advance your argument. For instance, I disagree that Gadianton wasn't really a robber. You have to read that into the text, contrary to what the text itself says. The text presents him as a robber turned prospective politician, not politician turned robbe
  22. I mentioned specificity and clustering as two things that need to be considered (among others) because apologists do a very bad job in these areas. One recent example I had in mind was the Dale's paper. With the Meso-American model, specificity is impossible because we don't have any written language. We end up "interpreting" archaeology to find a parallel. Clustering is also very rare to see from the apologist because it just doesn't occur in the record. It should be very telling when we have a competing model that hits clustering and specificity out of the park. Simply waving your hands and
  23. This is a line of argument you've used at least three times, but it is just not valid. I've addressed this before, but I'll do it again. My hypothesis is that someone borrowed from Roman history in creating the Book of Mormon. Some of that borrowing is very specific. Some is very general. Showing general similarities can only be additive. You may think it's so general that the additive value is zero. But it can't be subtractive. That is logically inconsistent. If I want to say the Book of Mormon borrowed from the bible and give the Alma/Paul story as an example there are some pretty specific s
  24. This seems like a worthwhile exercise in some respects, but you would also have to account for comparative limitations in data from each region. And how to determine which set of items to choose also involves numerous biases and assumptions.
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