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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:26 pm 
Dark Lord of the Sith
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RayAgostini wrote:
Darth J wrote:
These eight people had absolutely no way of knowing that Joseph Smith, Jr. was "the translator of this work." They had no way to authenticate that the plates were what Joseph Smith told them the plates were. They had no way to determine if the engravings were a real ancient language. They had no way of comparing the engravings to the Book of Mormon and determining that the latter was a translation of the former. They also had no qualifications to determine what plates "of ancient work" would look like, and did not explain how they arrived at that conclusion independent of Joseph Smith telling them a story about the plates.


An analysis of the Three Witnesses might prove a bit more difficult, as you noted previously, and the same level of skepticism is more difficult to maintain there.


No, I did not "note previously" that the Three Witnesses are more difficult. It is merely that they are different. And it really doesn't matter whether they claimed to have had a supernatural experience confirming that the Book of Mormon is true. If the story told in the Book of Mormon does not match reality about the pre-Columbian Americas, that's the end of the story. You're one of the worst victims of the burden of proof fallacy. If the Book of Mormon is not the ancient historical record it claims to be, then I don't have to offer an alternative explanation for how it was created to know that it is a 19th-century fabrication. The failure to make a prima facie case for itself is sufficient to reject belief in it.

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Then they heard the voice of God, and. Joseph reported it exactly as the witnesses remembered it. The Lord said: "These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear."6 As the vision closed, Joseph went and found Martin. The two men knelt in prayer, and the same revelation was repeated for them. Then they all returned to the house, as Lucy described.


Richard Lloyd Anderson, Book of Mormon Witnesses.

So it wasn't a case of "Joseph's Razor". It wasn't Joseph "who told them what to say", but the angel.


My comment about "Joseph's Razor" was referring to Mormon apologetics.

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Of course, if you don't believe in angels and miracles, that can easily be swept aside as evidence. In fact, you can throw out the whole New Testament too.


It's not simply a matter of believing in angels and miracles. Even allowing for the existence of angels and the occurrence of miracles, the issues is whether the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be. If it isn't, then that concludes the argument. I'm really not interested in a God who hides all the evidence supporting a reasonable belief in his message, but sends an angel to three guys whose words I'm just supposed to trust irrespective of objective reality. If God wants us to depend on angels instead of fact, then he can send an angel to me and tell me so.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:30 pm 
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RayAgostini wrote:

If your mind is made up, then nothing is likely to change it, but I think it's wise to at least keep an open mind, and if nothing else to at least conclude it's a possibility, maybe even a strong one. Better to remain agnostic, perhaps, than outrightly conclude it's "chicanery". That's my view, anyway, and why I hesitate to rush to the "fraud" argument.


You're not advocating for an open mind. You are advocating for an empty mind. The pious gullibility you so admire can be used to justify belief in anything.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:36 pm 
Darth J wrote:

You're not advocating for an open mind. You are advocating for an empty mind. The pious gullibility you so admire can be used to justify belief in anything.


I think that reveals your whole raison d'etre, which is why it's pretty pointless trying to argue with your dogma. But by all means, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame here.


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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:44 pm 
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I think this is also pretty interesting in the context of the current discussion:

Quote:
Mrs. Sarah N. Williams Reynolds of Salt Lake City, dictated the following highly important statement to the Compiler of this book: I was a close neighbor of Philo Dibble who visited me very often. He had been very familiar and intimately acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and took great delight in rehearsing his wealth of information concerning this acquaintance. Brother Dibble stated to me that the Prophet Joseph told him in connection with the others who were present in Father Johnson’s home at the time the Vision was given to the Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, that (the Prophet speaking): ‘My whole body was full of light and I could even see out at the ends of my fingers and toes.


Again, here we have an account of Joseph describing to others who were present on the occasion of his vision that his whole body was full of light. How are we to take that? Is this something they should have been able to see? Or not? I find it ambiguous. Light is a very visual phenomenon, so those who are asked to envision Joseph as filled with light will likely engage their imaginations such that they come to recall the occasion in that way. The tendency to narrate his internal experience in visual terms to others who are present and thus influence how they perceive the event seems to come as second nature to Joseph Smith.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:03 pm 
God

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Darth J wrote:

Now run the Bayesian analysis of whether the plates the Eight Witnesses saw were a forgery.
I think that's much more likely. That's why I said, "Are their any other hypotheses that better account for the witness testimony? I bet you say yes."

I'm just pointing out there are perfectly respectable ways to understand what evidence is that would allow for the witnesses' testimony to count as evidence of the existence of ancient plates. You argued that it would only count as evidence for the existence of some sort of plates or objects with heft. In court, probably, but that's because that's what the witness testimony acts as a piece of somewhat decent evidence for.

I don't find DCP's basic assertion all that objectionable. I think he's a bit oblivious to ideas about what constitutes evidence that would kneecap some of his assertions, but it's not that big of a deal to allow for the fact that Mormonism has some evidence in its favor. That's true in the same way that the idea intergalactic dictator Xenu brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft 75 million years ago, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them using hydrogen bombs has evidence in its favor is true.


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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:09 pm 
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RayAgostini wrote:
Darth J wrote:

You're not advocating for an open mind. You are advocating for an empty mind. The pious gullibility you so admire can be used to justify belief in anything.


I think that reveals your whole raison d'etre, which is why it's pretty pointless trying to argue with your dogma. But by all means, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame here.


Yes, Ray. "Dogma" means the failure to believe any story that anyone has to tell.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:21 pm 
Darth J wrote:
Yes, Ray. "Dogma" means the failure to believe any story that anyone has to tell.


I don't believe most of what you have to say or righteously opine about.

Quote:
Word Story

At the turn of the 17th century, dogma entered English from the Latin term meaning “philosophical tenet.” The Greek word from which it is borrowed means “that which one thinks is true,” and comes ultimately from the Greek dokein which means “to seem good” or “think.”
The origin of the word dogma acts as a reminder to English speakers that now-established principals and doctrines were once simply thoughts and opinions of ordinary people that gained popularity and eventually found their way into the universal consciousness of society. 20th century American academic and aphorist Mason Cooley concisely observed that “Under attack, sentiments harden into dogma, suggesting that dogma is spawned as a defensive act. This idea implies that for every dogma that exists, there is a counter dogma. With so many “truths” out there, there is sure to be a dogma to conveniently fit every set of beliefs.


The bold suits you to a tee.


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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:26 pm 
Dark Lord of the Sith
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RayAgostini wrote:
Darth J wrote:
Yes, Ray. "Dogma" means the failure to believe any story that anyone has to tell.


I don't believe most of what you have to say or righteously opine about.


The space aliens are probably more reliable sources of information than I am.

Quote:
Quote:
Word Story

At the turn of the 17th century, dogma entered English from the Latin term meaning “philosophical tenet.” The Greek word from which it is borrowed means “that which one thinks is true,” and comes ultimately from the Greek dokein which means “to seem good” or “think.”
The origin of the word dogma acts as a reminder to English speakers that now-established principals and doctrines were once simply thoughts and opinions of ordinary people that gained popularity and eventually found their way into the universal consciousness of society. 20th century American academic and aphorist Mason Cooley concisely observed that “Under attack, sentiments harden into dogma, suggesting that dogma is spawned as a defensive act. This idea implies that for every dogma that exists, there is a counter dogma. With so many “truths” out there, there is sure to be a dogma to conveniently fit every set of beliefs.


The bold suits you to a tee.


I know. The truthfulness of Mormonism is so patently obvious that my only recourse is skepticism as a desperate defense mechanism.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:46 pm 
Darth J wrote:
The space aliens are probably more reliable sources of information than I am.


Apparently even Dawkins has a more open mind than you do.

Quote:
"...life could conceivably have been seeded on Earth by an alien intelligence from another planet (Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel suggested something similar -- semi tongue-in-cheek). The conclusion I was heading towards was that, even in the highly unlikely event that some such 'Directed Panspermia' was responsible for designing life on this planet, the alien beings would THEMSELVES have to have evolved, if not by Darwinian selection, by some equivalent 'crane' (to quote Dan Dennett). My point here was that design can never be an ULTIMATE explanation for organized complexity. Even if life on Earth was seeded by intelligent designers on another planet, and even if the alien life form was itself seeded four billion years earlier, the regress must ultimately be terminated (and we have only some 13 billion years to play with because of the finite age of the universe). Organized complexity cannot just spontaneously happen."


All you do is mock. It's your trademark, and that's why you cannot be taken seriously.


Darth J wrote:
I know. The truthfulness of Mormonism is so patently obvious that my only recourse is skepticism as a desperate defense mechanism.


That was the point of DCP's blog post - it's not "so patently obvious". What you are is a pseudoskeptic:

Quote:
In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of "conventional science" as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis—saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact—he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.

— Marcello Truzzi, "On Pseudo-Skepticism", Zetetic Scholar.


Anyway, I've wasted enough valuable time on you for one day.


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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Kish, Pahoran attacked you by saying that despite your phd in Classics, you were able to translate a basic Latin phrase. He said he was justified i and his attack because I made your scholarly credentials an issue ;)[/quote] I didn't.

The post was removed I guess

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 10:00 pm 
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EAllusion wrote:
I think Darth J's post is dealing with a notion of evidence as it exists in a legal context rather than its more broad sense. There are perfectly respectable theories of what constitutes evidence that would count Book of Mormon witness testimony as evidence of the reality of ancient plates. It wouldn't be particularly good evidence for the reasons Darth points out, but it would be evidence.

Take a Bayesian definition of evidence:

P(h|e) = P(h) * ( P(e|h) / P(e) )

P(h) is the probability that the hypothesis is true given only the background information. This is often referred to as the prior probability. P(h|e) is the probability that h is true given the the observations under analysis. P(e|h) is the probability we'd see the observations given the hypothesis. And P(e) is the unconditional probability of the observations alone. Because P(h|e) is going to be > P(h) in this case, we can say it counts as evidence support. Evidence is any e where P(h|e) is > P(h).

Granted the witness testimony doesn't add all that much confirmation and the prior probability is quite low, but on this definition of evidential support it qualifies. Witnesses saying they had some sort of physical contact with something plate like is expected given the faithful version events moreso than if it were to occur just randomly. So the theory has received a little bit of confirmation.

Now suppose we add in the comparative principle I mentioned in my first post. Are their any other hypotheses that better account for the witness testimony? I bet you say yes.

See the issue?

It think this is all pretty trivial at the end of the day. The quality of the case of Mormonism doesn't really depend on technical distinctions in what constitutes evidence and it is no coup for the apologist or great fault for the critic to allow their to be some evidence for Mormonism. At the end of the day it's terribly uncompelling no matter the distinction.

This is worth reiterating. I was going to post something very similar, but you beat me to it, and said it better than I could have said it. Nice work.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 4:52 am 
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Kevin Graham wrote:
Kish, Pahoran attacked you by saying that despite your phd in Classics, you were able to translate a basic Latin phrase. He said he was justified i and his attack because I made your scholarly credentials an issue.) I didn't.

The post was removed I guess


Yeah, I saw that, but it made no sense. On what basis was he concluding that? MCB's writings?

The guy is an asshole with little of value to contribute to Mormonism except bile and venom.

My interpretation of Smith's review stands. He obviously had no substantive rebuttal.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 4:55 am 
Kishkumen wrote:
Kevin Graham wrote:
Kish, Pahoran attacked you by saying that despite your phd in Classics, you were able to translate a basic Latin phrase. He said he was justified i and his attack because I made your scholarly credentials an issue.) I didn't.

The post was removed I guess


Yeah, I saw that, but it made no sense. On what basis was he concluding that? MCB's writings?

The guy is an asshole with little of value to contribute to Mormonism except bile and venom.

My interpretation of Smith's review stands. He obviously had no substantive rebuttal.


And he ironically calls this place a sty. :rolleyes:


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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 4:58 am 
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I am lost here. Who is MCB?

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:00 am 
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liz3564 wrote:
And he ironically calls this place a sty. :rolleyes:


Pigpen Pahoran should feel right at home here, if that's true!

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:02 am 
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Kevin Graham wrote:
I am lost here. Who is MCB?


You didn't see him attacking Cassius and me on the basis of MCB's Spalding theory genre writings? I thought it was in that context that he said something about my Latin.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:08 am 
Kishkumen wrote:
liz3564 wrote:
And he ironically calls this place a sty. :rolleyes:


Pigpen Pahoran should feel right at home here, if that's true!

LOL! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 6:53 am 
God

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Darth J wrote:
Of course we only have his self-serving statement for that, but that doesn't explain why, since the objective was merely to prove that "he had plates."


I realize you are stuck on this attempt to say this is his only claim, and somehow suggest that is what I'm saying, but that was not his only objective. The objective here is clear to me. People were witness the existence of the plates with engravings on them and they appeared ancient to them. As I said, you have to take one thing at a time.

Quote:
In summary, you have to be predisposed to believing Joseph Smith's story before the testimony of the Eight Witnesses becomes relevant, but if you already believe his story, you don't need their statement.


Whatevers clever to you, I suppose. I didn't say any of this.

Quote:
Seriously, reading your attempts to reword what other people have said is like watching a first-grader fumbling around, trying to make sense of the world.


It's quite clear Static pointed out a pretty gross error from you in regards to reading me. It's funny, or sad depending on the mood I"m in, how often your complaints attacking people is really just hypocrisy.

Quote:
That isn't even close to the argument, nor does it indicate that you understand what the issue is. Joseph Smith, like all con men, relied on other people's gullibility and their susceptibility to fallacious thinking. Fast forward 182 years, and it's still working, as Stemelbow is demonstrating.


Suddenly your complaint about me being predisposed to belief Joseph Smith's story sounds incredibly, again, hypocritical. You get so full of yourself as conversations continue actual civil and thoughtful dialogue isn't even possible with you, it seems.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 6:55 am 
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static wrote:
Well, there you go, stemelbow. Darth J. has driven the final nail into your coffin. He definitely proved that your position was that this was Joseph Smith's only claim. (LOL!)


I know. He's a marvel to behold sometimes. Sadly for him I do think his ego is far too large for thoughtful conversation to take place. He's only looking for a weakness in another so he can go after the other person, but he'snot very mindful that he carries weakness too. Kind of a goon, like unto Buffalo, I'd say.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 6:59 am 
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EAllusion wrote:
It think this is all pretty trivial at the end of the day. The quality of the case of Mormonism doesn't really depend on technical distinctions in what constitutes evidence and it is no coup for the apologist or great fault for the critic to allow their to be some evidence for Mormonism. At the end of the day it's terribly uncompelling no matter the distinction.


+1. If I was as smart as this guy I'd have been saying the same damn thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Decent Post on Proof and Evidence at Sic et Non
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:13 am 
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stemelbow wrote:
[Darth J.is ] only looking for a weakness in another so he can go after the other person ...


I am sorry to have to say that you are not normally very good at giving the impression that you have an interesting and well-based point of view to put over, either in terms of the style of your posts or of their content. Sometimes your posts look suspiciously like derails: it does not much matter whether they are deliberate or inadvertent - the effect is the same.

I am not very surprised, therefore, that Darth J. tends to treat your contributions as if they were plastic ducks popping up on a shooting range, rather than as stimulating opportunities for dialogue.

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