Lemmie wrote:
(Sorry for the brevity, it's a busy week, so I will expand on why I think the authors made this error in anoer post, plus additional math errors, but here is the bare bones analysis, which in my opinion renders their analysis completely meaningless. -L)The biggest problem I see with the math regards the author's use of a likelihood ratio, which they define and calculate as follows:
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This likelihood ratio is the strength of each individual statement of fact as a piece of evidence. It is calculated as the probability that the statement is true if whoever wrote the Book of Mormon was guessing divided by the probability that the statement is true if instead the Book of Mormon is fact-based and essentially historical.
Therefore the ratio can be written as:
P(B|A) / P(B|~A),
Where A is defined in the paper as the hypothesis that the Book of Mormon is fictional; ~A is the hypothesis that the Book of Mormon is not fictional.
Quote:
First, the Bayes factor specifically accounts for the possibility that the evidence may have occurred under the other hypotheses. This is accomplished in the denominator of the Bayes factor.
No, it doesn't. Note that B is defined as the pieces of evidence, or, as the authors put it,
Quote:
each individual statement of fact.
Note that the authors are asking if, under certain circumstances, about
Quote:
...the probability that the statement is true...
But B is defined as a statement of fact, therefore
P(B) = 1,
by their own definition.
Therefore P(B|A) is also = 1, as is P(B|~A). This is because if B is true with a probability of 1, then it is true under all conditions, including whatever hypothesis under which it is being considered....
I'm not following you here at all.
If we give these authors the benefit of the doubt that they understand the basic math, "B" means the basket of evidence that we actually have. Thus, P(B|A) means, "What is the probability we'd see this basket of evidence if the book is historical?" Likewise, P(B|~A) means, "What is the probability we'd see this basket of evidence if the book isn't historical?"
What the authors are trying to do is look at each piece of evidence and compare the likelihood that a true book would happen to mention something in the book versus the likelihood that a false book would happen to mention something in the book. Picking up their points at random, point of evidence 1.9 is "some rulers live in luxury." The Book of Mormon mentions this. A hit! Their analysis is that a true book is twice as likely as a false book to mention that some of the rulers live in luxury. Therefore, the likelihood ratio is 0.5. Then, they go on to point of evidence 1.10, "elaborate thrones." The Book of Mormon mentions this. Another hit! They conclude that a true book is 10 times more likely than a false book to mention elaborate thrones. Therefore, the likelihood ratio is 0.1. Skipping down to point 2.19, "Cities and lands named after founder." The Book of Mormon does this. Another hit! A true book is twice as likely as a false book to name cities after a founder, so the likelihood is 0.5.
Five points:
1- Artificially limiting the ratios to between 100 and 0.1 is ludicrous. The probability of, say, the Isaiah chapters being an accurate translation of an authentic 600 B.C. manuscript are closer to 1 in a billion than to 1 in 100. Yet their methodology limits this to 1 in 100.
2- The evidence they select is arbitrary and incomplete: they didn't mention the Isaiah problem, for example, so they didn't even score 100 points on that to the critics--even though the point deserves way more than that.
3- How can you possibly conclude that a true book mentioning "excellent workmanship" (point 6.18) is 50 times more likely than a false book mentioning it? This is totally made up.
4- Their arbitrary approach to selecting and weighing evidence has no resemblance to Carrier's analysis.
5- Reading this whole thing would be a colossal waste of time. I can't even imagine somebody taking the time to write it.