The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Lemmie »

Louis Midgley > DanielPeterson • 2 days ago • edited

Earlier, Noel H. claimed that had friends in Australia and--"They have great expertise on Bayesian Statistical Analysis. I am," he added, "waiting." Nothing seems to have come from his friends on the West Island packed with "great expertise." Now he tells us that those on "the MD challenged the Dale paper." Wow! Scholarship at its very best.

This post by Midgley sums up a subset of the responses to the OP topic quite well. His ignorance is representative of a mindset that pervades the Interpreter editing, peer review, and article quality.

There has been considerable commentary posted, here and at the interpreter site. Very well supported, academically oriented assessments and strong mathematical and statistical critique have been given. I am very impressed by the quality of the dissenting opinions, but still, any disagreement that appears 'hostile to LDS truth claims' is automatically dismissed. Why? Because it is 'hostile to LDS truth claims.'

And yet the editor protests vociferously that the paper has been peer reviewed by a statistician. I can only assume that term is used rather loosely. I think we can put to bed the question of whether the Interpreter engages in an academically rigorous version of peer review. They do not.

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Arc »

aussieguy55 -> Louis Midgley • 2 days ago wrote:IMO the MD crowd challenged the Dale paper. I showed and asked Dr Jenkins and link and the responses there and on MD. He showed a stats Prof at Baylor who was not impressed.
https://disqus.com/by/aussieguy55/
aussieguy55 -> Louis Midgley • 38 minutes ago wrote:I was referring to Baylor University. You have probably read Lemmie's comments on the Dale paper on MD. Why don't they have it published in a round table style in Dialogue. Remember Dialogue spring 1969 the famous exchange between Bushman and Walters.?

So, the Dale & Dale paper was sent to Professor Jenkins at Baylor University, who showed it to a statistician colleague, who was "not impressed".

In addition to the devastating commentary that has appeared in the Interpreter comment section for the Dales' paper, the Interpreter staff and the authors are, or should be, aware of at least three highly qualified academic critics of the paper, two of whom are professional mathematicians and statisticians.

One of these is Lemmie (former LDS and named on DCP's blog by aussieguy) and one is an unimpressed Baylor statistician colleague of Prof. Jenkins (nevermo). The third is Prof. Jenkins himself, another recognized ancient Mesoamerica expert, in addition to Prof. Coe, who has effectively debunked the Book of Mormon in a public written forum. Jenkins recently cleaned the Mopologists' Book of Mormon clock in an epic public internet debate.

To my knowledge, the Interpreter management has not yet provided the academic qualifications(s) of the claimed peer reviewer(s) of the Dale & Dale paper.

While the authors, now aware of their tragic misstep, might wish to simply lay low and hope the storm will pass, it looks like Midgley and his ilk believe that the paper should be, or must be, actively defended.

The suggestion of aussieguy to have the Dale & Dale paper published in a round table style in Dialogue would be a fair way to give the Interpreter and the Dales the opportunity to defend their paper in an open forum in which they can participate, but over which they do not have content control.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Dr Exiled »

I'm surprised this paper hasn't been taken down yet. I know the mopes want to be able to point to a paper that sounds and feels mathematical, because probably a high percentage of their target audience won't check the math and logic. However, the take down has been so thorough that it'll drive more out. It'll drive more out than it impresses to remain.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by SteelHead »

Standard mopologist MO. Produce crap. Declare victory.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Physics Guy »

Open discussion in a neutral forum might be a good idea but I think it's a mistake to start disputing credentials and citing authorities. That gives this paper too much credit.

This paper is not just unimpressive. It's not just debatable on some technical issues. It's completely wrong for a few simple reasons that are not hard to explain.

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Arc »

Physics Guy wrote:Open discussion in a neutral forum might be a good idea but I think it's a mistake to start disputing credentials and citing authorities. That gives this paper too much credit.
On second thought, I think you are right (bolding mine).

Physics Guy wrote:This paper is not just unimpressive. It's not just debatable on some technical issues. It's completely wrong for a few simple reasons that are not hard to explain.
Absolutely correct.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

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Honorentheos was correct. Digging on the paper has resumed over on the Interpreter comments section. This time the "correspondence" has to do with covenants. Bruce assigns a likelihood of 0.02 to the observation that both the Maya and the imaginary Nephites had covenants with their respective deities.
Bruce Dale wrote:According to the weighting scheme used in our article, we view this correspondence as specific, detailed and unusual, for a likelihood of 0.02.
If one is looking for a source from which Joseph Smith could have possibly gotten the idea of covenants for his imaginary Nephites, one need look no further than the Old Testament. Given the amount of material that Joseph Smith copied, some of it pretty much word for word, anachronisms and all, from the KJV of the Bible, the fact that he mentions covenants in his historical novel that he couldn't copyright in Canada is not surprising - its expected.
Bruce Dale wrote:What do you think, commentators?
This "commentator" thinks that Bruce should reconsider and pull the paper. The hole is only getting deeper.
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I have a question
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by I have a question »

DrW wrote:Honorentheos was correct. Digging on the paper has resumed over on the Interpreter comments section. This time the "correspondence" has to do with covenants. Bruce assigns a likelihood of 0.02 to the observation that both the Maya and the imaginary Nephites had covenants with their respective deities.
Bruce Dale wrote:According to the weighting scheme used in our article, we view this correspondence as specific, detailed and unusual, for a likelihood of 0.02.
If one is looking for a source from which Joseph Smith could have possibly gotten the idea of covenants for his imaginary Nephites, one need look no further than the Old Testament. Given the amount of material that Joseph Smith copied, some of it pretty much word for word, anachronisms and all, from the KJV of the Bible, the fact that he mentions covenants in his historical novel that he couldn't copyright in Canada is not surprising - its expected.
Bruce Dale wrote:What do you think, commentators?
This "commentator" thinks that Bruce should reconsider and pull the paper. The hole is only getting deeper.


Billy shows everyone just how deep it is...

Analysis: The concepts of “covenants” might be specific and detailed, but they are not unusual. The Bible is about God’s covenant people. If somebody familiar with the Bible were writing fiction about how God led some people to a new land, you would fully expect them to talk about Biblical covenants. So this isn’t the least bit unusual. But even if “covenants” are incredibly specific and detailed, that doesn’t indicate that a Bayesian likelihood ratio should be anything other than 1.00. Somebody writing speculative fiction about a Biblical people would in all likelihood include covenants in his fiction. Thus, this detail fits in with the “it was made up” hypothesis just as well as the “it is ancient Mesoamerican” hypothesis. This point illustrates how fundamentally flawed your “specific, detailed, and unique” scoring system is.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by aussieguy55 »

Jenkins told me regarding his colleague. "I did, but he could not be persuaded that it was worth spending much time giving a detailed response. He basically said the methodology was garbage and should not be applied to problems like that, but as I said, no great details."
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

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aussieguy55 wrote:Jenkins told me regarding his colleague. "I did, but he could not be persuaded that it was worth spending much time giving a detailed response. He basically said the methodology was garbage and should not be applied to problems like that, but as I said, no great details."

This is exactly what Lemmie and other qualified critics on this board have stated. Then they (especially Lemmie) went on to provide not only details of the problems but examples of how many of the problems could be addressed.

Unfortunately, as many on this board, and from other sites, have stated; the Dale & Dale paper is beyond redemption. Here is a recent statement regarding the paper by a physics professor working in Germany.
Physics Guy wrote:This paper is not just unimpressive. It's not just debatable on some technical issues. It's completely wrong for a few simple reasons that are not hard to explain.

The fact that these fatal problems have been repeatedly and clearly pointed out to the Dales and the Interpreter, both here and in the Interpreter comments section, leaves one to wonder what it will take to have the paper withdrawn.

Do the Dales and the Interpreter really want to leave this absolutely ridiculous garbage on the internet as a monument to their lack of professional and personal integrity (manifest here as ignorance and stupidity) when it comes to setting up hypotheses and the application of simple math and statistics?

Harsh words? Perhaps. Worse would be not calling out this ongoing train wreck. As Physics Guy has noted upthread, everyone makes mistakes now and then. Honest people make an effort to correct those mistakes when they are pointed out.
Last edited by DrW on Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:12 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

The latest correspondence is yet another example of Dr. Bruce claiming that the mere reference to a concept in The Maya serves as a strong connection to a practise in the Book of Mormon. But if one then looks at the actual practise being described in The Maya, there couldn't be less similarity between the two.

In this case, the so called covenant is referencing religious mythology and rituals among Maya that are tied to the belief humankind was created from maize dough, and are granted blessing by the gods but in exchange must give their bodies to the deities including acts such as penis piercing and blood letting.

From that, Dr. Dale has decided the very Christian act of taking on Christ's name through baptism is unusual, specific and detailed as far as matches go. Umm, sure?
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Analytics »

You didn't see the penis piercing covenant in the Book of Mormon? Obviously you need to read it another hundred times. If you'll agree to do so, I'll send you a free copy.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

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Analytics wrote:You didn't see the penis piercing covenant in the Book of Mormon? Obviously you need to read it another hundred times. If you'll agree to do so, I'll send you a free copy.

:lol: the elder Dale does seem quite obsessed with counting the number of times he has read something through, does he not?

I don't understand that at ALL. In the end, after a learning process, technically one may have "read through" something multiple times, but that is definitely only a side effect of the actual learning, and certainly not what one would announce as both necessary and sufficient evidence of understanding.

Maybe that is why the Dale's analyses of their correspondences seem so artificial. If the correspondences are based on just 'reading through' and apparently finding words that match, then their conclusion that it is a correspondence is, by definition, superficial. There doesn't seem to be any other explanation for why they use such tenuous connections to define a correspondence, unless their starting conclusion that the Book of Mormon is true is so strong that they are subconsciously forced to find associations when there is no academic basis for doing so.

And again, if that is the case, adequate peer review should have assisted them in correcting that bias.

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

It's becoming apparent that Dr. Dale is not that familiar with the cultural environment of Joseph Smith given many of his correspondences appear to him as impossible to explain outside Smith was working with authentic Mayan source material in the golden plates. His view that covenants as seen in the Book of Mormon were not evident in the US Presbyterian worldview is otherwise inexplicable. From the pilgrims to the founding fathers there was a view America's destiny was founded on covenants including the idea America itself represented a covenant nation from which our manifest destiny is founded. It's what feeds the conservative rights view of the US as being founded as a Christian nation despite God not being in the Constitution and national religion explicitly considered a threat to state rights. But one can only do so much to help point out such glaring blindspots.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

Analytics wrote:You didn't see the penis piercing covenant in the Book of Mormon? Obviously you need to read it another hundred times. If you'll agree to do so, I'll send you a free copy.

Will you add your testimony in the cover? :smile:

It is a funny quirk of theirs isn't it?
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by malkie »

The Dales are back, and would like, if possible, to restrict comments to 4 points:

So I would like to invite anyone who wishes to do so to respond to these specific questions:

1. Do you think that a single reading, over 45 years ago, of the Book of Mormon qualifies Dr. Coe as an expert on the Book of Mormon and how it might relate (or not) to ancient American Indian cultures?

2. No matter how weakly we weight the evidence for the Book of Mormon, or how strongly we weight the evidence against the Book of Mormon, our conclusion is unchanged. The Book of Mormon is an authentic record set in ancient Mesoamerica. Do you have a suggestion for a fair and reasonable sensitivity analysis that we have not done?

3. If the Book of Mormon is a product of the 19th century and of that century’s understanding of ancient American Indian cultures, why does the Book of Mormon compare so well with The Maya and why do the two other 19th century books focused on ancient American Indian cultures compare so badly with The Maya?

4. If you want to eliminate specific pieces of evidence from Appendix A which you think are NOT valid points of correspondence between the Book of Mormon and The Maya, which specific pieces of evidence are those?


It looks to me as if all of the comments on the importance of getting the methodology right before drawing conclusions are being discarded.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

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Bruce Dale wrote: No matter how weakly we weight the evidence for the Book of Mormon, or how strongly we weight the evidence against the Book of Mormon, our conclusion is unchanged. The Book of Mormon is an authentic record set in ancient Mesoamerica.-{SNIP}--

No surprise here. Come on, Bruce.

Given your failure to start with exhaustive and mutually exclusive hypotheses, your quoted statement is meaningless. There is no way that your limited problem statement, hypotheses, and follow on analysis justifies your global conclusion regarding the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

If you had started with an appropriate and valid set of hypotheses, and then done the math correctly, you would have come to a reasonable conclusion - and probably saved yourself the ton of work you did writing your paper in the first place.

You failed to do that and now find yourself forced to limit discussion to your four carefully selected topics. You have staked out for yourself a very small and insignificant hill on which to die. If you can't see and acknowledge that, then no one here can help you.
Last edited by DrW on Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Meadowchik »

DrW wrote:
Bruce Dale wrote: No matter how weakly we weight the evidence for the Book of Mormon, or how strongly we weight the evidence against the Book of Mormon, our conclusion is unchanged. The Book of Mormon is an authentic record set in ancient Mesoamerica.---

No surprise here.



Uh, is it just me, or does that sound like a process independent of evidence? Hmmm...

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Philo Sofee »

I'm truly curious about how the Dales handle the ritual of penis piercing in Mesoamerica and how this ties in with the Book of Mormon.... seriously. They say there is correspondences, but would this one not count against the Book of Mormons complete silence on such a powerful Mesoamerican ritual?! Am I just too thick mentally to see the lack of correspondence and parallel here? Does Bayes allow him to skip over this obvious miss with the Book of Mormon?
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by malkie »

I just noticed that I "outed" myself by posting as malkie, and then following up as Malcolm McLean - not that it matters now as much as it did a few years ago.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by fetchface »

Philo Sofee wrote:I'm truly curious about how the Dales handle the ritual of penis piercing in Mesoamerica and how this ties in with the Book of Mormon.... seriously. They say there is correspondences, but would this one not count against the Book of Mormons complete silence on such a powerful Mesoamerican ritual?! Am I just too thick mentally to see the lack of correspondence and parallel here? Does Bayes allow him to skip over this obvious miss with the Book of Mormon?

It is obviously a corruption of the HEBREW practice of circumcision so it counts as a hit!

Maybe I should offer my services to the Dales to help them write their responses. :wink:
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