The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

malkie wrote: :exclaim: I wish he had written "exacerbate" :(

Billy is far superior in his writing compared to most, so to be fair to him the Interpreter's comment section isn't really well suited for extended, lengthy discussion. Typing on ones phone on it is even worse. While I couldn't care much less Billy seems quite careful and conscientious in his writing, and it was a fairly long post that summarized much with impressive economy. Perhaps however it came to be, exasperate captures the emotion of the discussion at this point if not being the best choice to convey the intent, anyway.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by malkie »

honorentheos wrote:
malkie wrote: :exclaim: I wish he had written "exacerbate" :(

Billy is far superior in his writing compared to most, so to be fair to him the Interpreter's comment section isn't really well suited for extended, lengthy discussion. Typing on ones phone on it is even worse. While I couldn't care much less Billy seems quite careful and conscientious in his writing, and it was a fairly long post that summarized much with impressive economy. Perhaps however it came to be, exasperate captures the emotion of the discussion at this point if not being the best choice to convey the intent, anyway.

I certainly have no quarrel with the quality of Billy's writing - I agree with your comment. And I make my fair share of typos, so I really wasn't casting stones. I just find that that kind of error often jumps off the page at me.

ETA: I regret having made that comment :redface:
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

It's understandable, especially given Dr. Bruce's tendency to rely on superficial points to deflect criticisms. It's part of what makes it exasperating. :lol:
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by DrW »

Dr. Dale wrote: just finished a series of lectures on geology given through The Great Courses. (Highly recommended!) I am happy to report a possible geophysical explanation for the inability to kindle fire noted in 3 Nephi 8:21 (and objected to by Mr. Dubious Commentator.)

As many of you probably know, what actually provides the explosive power in volcanoes is the rapid release of dissolved water (as steam) and carbon dioxide from the magma. But it turns out that carbon dioxide is also often released slowly from magma…without any explosion. This carbon dioxide travels upward through fissures and cracks in the rock strata and is released at the surface.

Carbon dioxide is more dense than air, and especially when cooler than the surrounding air, carbon dioxide can collect in lower spots. Carbon dioxide does not support combustion and would make it difficult or impossible to light fires. Hence 3 Nephi 8:21 is consistent with physical facts surrounding earthquakes and eruptions.

Honorentheos raised a excellent point on the Interpreter comments section regarding the problem of death carbon dioxide (CO2) in response to Bruce Dale's "volcanic CO2" theory as to why no fire could be lit during the period of darkness in the Book of Mormon.

I find it incredible that someone who works with fuels (and therefore combustion), as Bruce's biosketch states, would not understand that breathing air with CO2 concentrations high enough to prevent ignition or combustion would be fatal to humans within minutes.

CO2 concentrations as low as 2000 to 5000 ppm in air can result in poisoning, the symptoms of which are degradation of neurological function. These may not appear for days or weeks after exposure.

Concentrations of 10% (100,000 ppm) or more would cause convulsions with incapacitation and death soon to follow. Gasification is a well known process in alternative fuels production in which combustion takes place in CO2 concentrations far greater than 10%. Anyone who works in fuels and combustion should be aware of this fact.

It is also incredible that a senior engineer is not aware of what happened to more than 1,700 people and hundreds of animals in 1986 when a landslide released CO2 from waters of Lake Nyos in Africa. The lake had been saturated with volcanic CO2 over time. The landslide provided the mechanical energy needed to cause the CO2 to come out of solution travel along the ground downwind. Even if he were unaware of the Nyos disaster, had he bothered to check his latest crackpot correspondence with a simple Google search, he would have found the information soon enough.

Had CO2 been the reason that fires could not be lit during the days of darkness in the Book of Mormon, it is unlikely that anyone who experienced the phenomenon would have survived to tell the story.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Perhaps Dr. Dale could brush up on the dangers of carbon dioxide by using one of Mr. Peter$on's favorite unfinished manuscripts:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nyos_disaster

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by malkie »

DrW wrote:
Dr. Dale wrote: just finished a series of lectures on geology given through The Great Courses. (Highly recommended!) I am happy to report a possible geophysical explanation for the inability to kindle fire noted in 3 Nephi 8:21 (and objected to by Mr. Dubious Commentator.)

As many of you probably know, what actually provides the explosive power in volcanoes is the rapid release of dissolved water (as steam) and carbon dioxide from the magma. But it turns out that carbon dioxide is also often released slowly from magma…without any explosion. This carbon dioxide travels upward through fissures and cracks in the rock strata and is released at the surface.

Carbon dioxide is more dense than air, and especially when cooler than the surrounding air, carbon dioxide can collect in lower spots. Carbon dioxide does not support combustion and would make it difficult or impossible to light fires. Hence 3 Nephi 8:21 is consistent with physical facts surrounding earthquakes and eruptions.

Honorentheos raised a excellent point on the Interpreter comments section regarding the problem of death carbon dioxide (CO2) in response to Bruce Dale's "volcanic CO2" theory as to why no fire could be lit during the period of darkness in the Book of Mormon.

I find it incredible that someone who works with fuels (and therefore combustion), as Bruce's biosketch states, would not understand that breathing air with CO2 concentrations high enough to prevent ignition or combustion would be fatal to humans within minutes.

CO2 concentrations as low as 2000 to 5000 ppm in air can result in poisoning, the symptoms of which are degradation of neurological function. These may not appear for days or weeks after exposure.

Concentrations of 10% (100,000 ppm) or more would cause convulsions with incapacitation and death soon to follow. Gasification is a well known process in alternative fuels production in which combustion takes place in CO2 concentrations far greater than 10%. Anyone who works in fuels and combustion should be aware of this fact.

It is also incredible that a senior engineer is not aware of what happened to more than 1,700 people and hundreds of animals in 1986 when a landslide released CO2 from waters of Lake Nyos in Africa. The lake had been saturated with volcanic CO2 over time. The landslide provided the mechanical energy needed to cause the CO2 to come out of solution travel along the ground downwind. Even if he were unaware of the Nyos disaster, had he bothered to check his latest crackpot correspondence with a simple Google search, he would have found the information soon enough.

Had CO2 been the reason that fires could not be lit during the days of darkness in the Book of Mormon, it is unlikely that anyone who experienced the phenomenon would have survived to tell the story.


Allen Wyatt responded:
Allen Wyatt wrote:... it is possible that the CO2 pocketed in low-lying areas. If the high CO2 content is, let’s say, no higher than your knees, it would stop combustion at ground level and still allow people to breath because it doesn’t affect the quality of the air above that “boundary.”
...

I know I shouldn't bother, since it is likely considered contentious, but I posted a reply to Allen Wyatt's response to your comment.

Allen's "solution" to the problems you point out for the volcanic CO2 problem requires the Nephites to be pretty stupid - they never try to light a fire, candle, or torch, above the level of their knees in the "pockets" of CO2.

In other news, Bruce is planning another paper based on the 1st edition of The Mayas!
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by SteelHead »

You want to know what will burn in a co2 saturated environment?


The stupid.

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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

malkie wrote:In other news, Bruce is planning another paper based on the 1st edition of The Mayas!

I saw that yesterday and wondered what it was he hoped to achieve by announcing it?

His stated premise is that a supported theory will accrue evidence over time, further supporting it's validity. He then claims to have purchased and read (twice!) the 1st edition of The Maya to determine which of their 131 positive correspondences identified using the 9th edition were not included in the 1st edition, intending to show that as knowledge of the Maya has increased so has the evidence supporting the claim the Book of Mormon is describing a people living in pre-classic Mayan times and cultural environment.

His claim is that the number of their correspondences that were added between the 1st and 9th is substantial, increasing from just under 80 positive correspondences to the 131 claimed in their paper. He also claims the evidence includes reversals (i.e. - that a water migration to the Americas is possible) or where a correspondence increased in the understood importance it had for Mayan culture.

So, not only is he standing by the current paper, he seems quite intent on following it up with another paper.

In other words, he's just an over-educated internet troll.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

DrW wrote:(snip)

Had CO2 been the reason that fires could not be lit during the days of darkness in the Book of Mormon, it is unlikely that anyone who experienced the phenomenon would have survived to tell the story.

Hi DrW,

I saw your reply on the Interpreter's comment section and was very curious to see if Dr. Dale would respond to it. So far, it seems Allan Wyatt is carrying water for that argument instead, and poorly if I may say so. To be fair, it may show that Dr. Dale is at least credible enough to realize his idea is flawed for all the reasons you pointed out and is simply ghosting it rather than acknowledge his speculation was short-sighted.

The need for a volcano to explain the Book of Mormon is one of those mysteries of apologetics that shines a light into how broken apologists think. The event they attempt to explain through natural means is still a supernatural event. God apparently did SOMETHING to make it dark for three days in the western hemisphere to mark the crucifixion of Jesus in Roman Palestine on the other side of the globe. Never mind most of the people who lived on the western hemisphere would have no idea who Jesus even was let alone that he was being unjustly executed for their sins according to the limited geography models. While the people who did know Jesus and would probably benefit from being able to associate a sign from the heavens with his execution didn't get this supernatural display. That is only slightly relevant.*

The main point is, God has to be an active, interfering deity for this event to occur. He has to make the western hemisphere dark somehow. Why then make it critical to the argument to say God used some form of natural disaster HE HAS TO CAUSE TO HAPPEN to explain it? Why not just say God made it dark by God-magic? It takes God-magic either way. And God-magic has the advantage of not suffocating everyone to death. For a volcano to make everything absolutely dark for three days and prevent even simple lights from being lit or seen it means not only is there lethal amounts of CO2 everywhere, but ash and all the other volcanic gases besides CO2 everywhere to the point it creates absolute, perfect darkness.

It's already a God-did-it moment. It's not making it any better trying to explain some of the conditions away through natural means.

* I say that while thinking it makes God out to be either a terrible being or incompetent. Either God is a petulant mopey teenager who is mad at the popular kids in his previous promised land who no longer care about him but he can't do anything about it. So he takes out his anger on his new promised land followers and unfortunate oblivious native peoples going about worshiping Maize gods and the like. Or, he sent Jehovah and all the other elect who helped with creation down to set things up and whomever set up the plate tectonic conditions to go off at the crucifixion screwed it up and only half of the "fireworks" went off. The part meant to pop in the eastern hemisphere had it's fuse fall out, and then had a few misfires a couple of decades later such as in Pompeii.

It's just a really dumb idea that comes from trying to explain a narrow problem away while getting too close so one no longer is seeing the bigger picture.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by SteelHead »

honorentheos wrote:
malkie wrote:In other news, Bruce is planning another paper based on the 1st edition of The Mayas!

I saw that yesterday and wondered what it was he hoped to achieve by announcing it?

His stated premise is that a supported theory will accrue evidence over time, further supporting it's validity. He then claims to have purchased and read (twice!) the 1st edition of The Maya to determine which of their 131 positive correspondences identified using the 9th edition were not included in the 1st edition, intending to show that as knowledge of the Maya has increased so has the evidence supporting the claim the Book of Mormon is describing a people living in pre-classic Mayan times and cultural environment.

His claim is that the number of their correspondences that were added between the 1st and 9th is substantial, increasing from just under 80 positive correspondences to the 131 claimed in their paper. He also claims the evidence includes reversals (i.e. - that a water migration to the Americas is possible) or where a correspondence increased in the understood importance it had for Mayan culture.

So, not only is he standing by the current paper, he seems quite intent on following it up with another paper.

In other words, he's just an over-educated internet troll.


I still think that the methodology is broken for other reasons. There are no actual physical links between the Book of Mormon and the real world. So if we take the Book of Mormon narrative and some book about the cultural and history of a people that lived from 600bc-400ad and apply the same methodology what happens?

Much better hits for the Book of Mormon having taken place on Malaysian or Italian peninsulas...

What would be the take away? To me the take away is that the methodology is meaningless.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

Dr. Bruce Dale doesn't care about contradictions or alternatives to his already predetermined "knowledge" that the Book of Mormon is describing the Mayan people.

For example he has argued recently in the comments that:

1A) Joseph Smith could not have made use of knowledge picked up from his own environment to form the descriptions of the fortresses used by the Nephites because he noted the depth of the mote and height of the wall was "important" while not mistakenly including descriptions of the fortresses being made in a star shape as was used by European nations as a defense against cannon fire. In short, if he had been relying on 19th c. knowledge he would have included details he didn't. The omission of details is significant in this case as evidence against his having drawn from knowledge available in the 19th c.

- while also arguing:

1B) Joseph Smith could not have been making use of knowledge from his own environment to form the descriptions of covenants made by the Nephites because the concept of a covenant was not prominent at the time despite being associated with Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. It's a match for what Coe describe regarding the relationship of the Maya with their pantheon of gods in particular the Maize God. Never mind that Smith was most closely associated with Methodists at the time of writing the Book of Mormon. Never mind that this entry from John Wesley's journals sounds quite a bit like what was described in Mosiah 5 and 6: "I mentioned to the congregation another means of increasing serious religion which had been frequently practiced by our forefathers, namely, the joining in a covenant to serve God with all our hearts and with all our soul. I explained this for several mornings, and on Friday many of us kept a fast to the Lord, beseeching him to give us wisdom and strength, to make a promise to the Lord our God and keep it...At six in the evening we met for that purpose. After I had recited the tenor of the covenant proposed, all those who desired to give testimony of their entrance into this covenant stood up, to the number of about 1,800 person."

That is meaningless that this sounds an awful lot like the King Benjamin example Dr. Dale uses to claim the Book of Mormon is a specific, unique and detailed hit for describing the Maya:

Mosiah 5: "We are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will and to be obedient to his commandments in all things...that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment...that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God...And these are the words which king Benjamin desired of them: Ye have spoke the words that I desired; and the covenant which ye have made is a righteous covenant."

Never mind that at least since the Puritans, Christians in the new promised land of America viewed their being given a new land by God that required their being his people through keeping his commandments. It's only coincidence this is the central theme of the Book of Mormon.

Never mind that Smith didn't include details in The Maya described by Coe associated with the Mayan's very specific beliefs and rituals regarding their relationship to the gods requires bodily sacrifices reflecting the return of the body to the Gods who created it. The omission of details is insignificant in this case.

The conclusion that best fits the evidence is he's an internet troll.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by DrW »

Went back to the Interpreter comments section intending to make it clear that my earlier comments there would have indeed been a devastating refutation of Dr. Dale's silly carbon dioxide theory for anyone who understood the least bit about the subject matter at hand.

However, with Dr. Dales proclamation that there was yet more Book of Mormon - Maya nonsense to come, the Interpreter has finally advised its readers that "Comments are closed" and quit the field.

With his parting message to his readers as follows, Dr. Dale has affirmed that he is not only an internet troll, but a delusional one at that.

Dr. Bruce Dale wrote: Just a heads up, however. It took some work to find a copy of the first edition of The Maya. You might start looking for your copy pretty soon.

Oh, wait, silly me.

Very few of the negative commentators have been interested in comparing facts in The Maya with facts from the Book of Mormon. So maybe those folks don’t need a copy of the first edition after all.
Anyway, I am looking forward to more fun in the years ahead.

I even have a tentative title for the next paper. It will be: “Joseph Smith: Still the World’s Greatest Guesser—and Getting Better All the Time”

Surely there is no other course of events since Jenkins v. Hamblin that has brought more disrepute to the Book of Mormon and Mopologetics in general than this Saga of the Drs. Dale.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by honorentheos »

Interesting. They had accepted my last comment this afternoon but now it's gone. There appears to have been another comment removed as well given total dropped by two.

They apparently didn't want the last comment to be a question why John Wesley's beliefs about covenants that were fundamental to Methodism branching off from the Church of England aren't considered a more probable match to the content of the Book of Mormon than ritual bloodletting. Given Joseph Smith was familiar enough to have sought membership among them before the authoring the Book of Mormon it makes for stronger evidence for the 19th c. authorship theory. Given which, perhaps his time and effort would be best spent addressing those issues lest he come back in a year and find his 131 correspondences have evaporated to none, making his second paper irrelevant?

Don't know why that wouldn't have been seen as a fitting final note.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by malkie »

They also dropped my question to Allen Wyatt.

He said that the CO2 explanation was possible - I asked him if would agree that it was improbable. We'll never know his answer.

I find that amusing - since this whole paper is about probabilities.
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Re: The Interpreter; Bayes Theorem; Nephites and Mayans

Post by Physics Guy »

CO2 is heavier than air, true. It is still a fluid. It does not coat the landscape in an even layer like peanut butter spread onto hillsides. It flows downhill like water.

So this scenario of a knee-deep CO2 layer that would stop fires from being lit but not suffocate anyone could only happen on a perfectly flat plain. Otherwise the CO2 would slip away from high ground, allowing fires to be lit there with no trouble, and fill valleys to well above human height, causing mass suffocation.

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