MrStakhanovite wrote:
Bruce E. Dale and Brian Dale wrote:
For the subject of this article — the factual nature of the Book of Mormon — we choose to start with extremely large “skeptical prior odds” against the book. We allow only a 1:1,000,000,000 (one in a billion) prior odds that the Book of Mormon is a historical document. Thus we start with odds of 1,000,000,000:1 (a billion to one) that the statements of fact in the Book of Mormon are just guesses made by whoever wrote the book.
I imagine this sounds impressive, until you realize the entire analysis totally relies on assigning values to posterior evidence and that it becomes relatively easy to overcome prior values. If you really wanted to factor in strong skepticism you'd do it elsewhere and not in the place where it makes the least difference.
And how are they going to goose those posterior values?
Bruce E. Dale and Brian Dale wrote:
To perform our analysis, we assign one of three likelihood ratios to testable facts or “correspondences” between the Book of Mormon and Dr. Coe’s book. The facts, taken from Dr. Coe’s book, are compared with statements of fact in the Book of Mormon. Recall that the hypothesis we are testing is that the Book of Mormon is false, and we assume a billion to one prior odds in favor of the hypothesis that the Book of Mormon is indeed false.
Pieces of evidence in favor of the hypothesis, that is, that the Book of Mormon is false, are weighted by their “likelihood ratio,” which is a positive value greater than one (either 50, 10 or 2). This likelihood ratio is multiplied by the skeptical prior of a billion to one to increase the weight of the evidence against the Book of Mormon.
Points of evidence in favor of the essentially factual nature of the Book of Mormon (called the converse hypothesis) are weighted by their likelihood ratio, a positive decimal fraction (0.5, 0.1 or 0.02). These fractions are multiplied by the skeptical prior of a billion to one to decrease the weight of the evidence against the Book of Mormon, in other words, to provide evidence for the factual nature of the Book of Mormon.
By the arbitrary decision of limiting values to 50, 10, 2, .5, .1 and .02.