Response to MI Paper on Bayes and Book of Mormon

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Res Ipsa
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Response to MI Paper on Bayes and Book of Mormon

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I started working on an outline for a rebuttal paper in this thread, but decided to move it to Google Docs so I could format it better. Here is the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OfJ ... sp=sharing

It's an incomplete mess right now, as I decided to substantially rework it in light of all the good information people have posted in the last few days. Comments, suggestions, criticisms and pies are all welcome (as long as the last is banana cream). I'll bump this when I'm done with a first draft of the outline.
​“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”

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Re: Response to MI Paper on Bayes and Book of Mormon

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Okay, it's a lesser mess, but I think it shows the framework of the argument. Not yet a completed outline, but would appreciate comments on the general framework.
​“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”

― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951

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Re: Response to MI Paper on Bayes and Book of Mormon

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1) Good on you for doing this!

2) I would avoid mentioning Carrier. Even if he's a great teacher of Bayesian methods there are other good teachers who don't come with his baggage.

3) I think what you're preparing is much too long. Marshalling a vast army against the Dales is implicitly admitting that they have a serious case that needs a massive rebuttal. They're small time. A couple of cops can just round them up.

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Re: Response to MI Paper on Bayes and Book of Mormon

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Physics Guy wrote:1) Good on you for doing this!

2) I would avoid mentioning Carrier. Even if he's a great teacher of Bayesian methods there are other good teachers who don't come with his baggage.

3) I think what you're preparing is much too long. Marshalling a vast army against the Dales is implicitly admitting that they have a serious case that needs a massive rebuttal. They're small time. A couple of cops can just round them up.



1. Thanks!

2. After skimming Proving History, I don’t think I can avoid talking about Carrier. His book is on the topic of using Bayes to answer historical questions, which is what the Dales’ paper attempts to do. Before he even gets to Bayes, he discusses in detail other things historians must do to allow Bayes to be useful tool. His careful use of Bayes as a tool to help discover truth is a perfect foil for the Dales’ thoughtless, mercenary use of Bayes to reach their preferred conclusion. If there is another book that addresses using Bayes to answer historical questions and provides the depth that Proving History does, I’d be happy to take a look.

3. I understand your point on length. One problem is that a wrong statement about anything — statistics included — can be made in a short, simple sentence. But explaining why, especially to people who lack knowledge on the topic, usually takes much more. For an academic journal on statistics, a sentence or two would be sufficient for the audience. But I’m thinking about folks who have little or no background in statistics. If a response doesn’t clearly explain why the errors matter, they’ll be unlikely to reject the Dales’s paper. So maybe treating the article seriously is a good trade off for clearly communicating how awful the article is.

I really appreciate the feedback. I’m going to putter at this as time permits and see where it goes.
​“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.”

― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951

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Re: Response to MI Paper on Bayes and Book of Mormon

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Res Ipsa wrote:
Physics Guy wrote:1) Good on you for doing this!

2) I would avoid mentioning Carrier. Even if he's a great teacher of Bayesian methods there are other good teachers who don't come with his baggage.

3) I think what you're preparing is much too long. Marshalling a vast army against the Dales is implicitly admitting that they have a serious case that needs a massive rebuttal. They're small time. A couple of cops can just round them up.



1. Thanks!

2. After skimming Proving History, I don’t think I can avoid talking about Carrier. His book is on the topic of using Bayes to answer historical questions, which is what the Dales’ paper attempts to do. Before he even gets to Bayes, he discusses in detail other things historians must do to allow Bayes to be useful tool. His careful use of Bayes as a tool to help discover truth is a perfect foil for the Dales’ thoughtless, mercenary use of Bayes to reach their preferred conclusion. If there is another book that addresses using Bayes to answer historical questions and provides the depth that Proving History does, I’d be happy to take a look.

3. I understand your point on length. One problem is that a wrong statement about anything — statistics included — can be made in a short, simple sentence. But explaining why, especially to people who lack knowledge on the topic, usually takes much more. For an academic journal on statistics, a sentence or two would be sufficient for the audience. But I’m thinking about folks who have little or no background in statistics. If a response doesn’t clearly explain why the errors matter, they’ll be unlikely to reject the Dales’s paper. So maybe treating the article seriously is a good trade off for clearly communicating how awful the article is.

I really appreciate the feedback. I’m going to putter at this as time permits and see where it goes.


Res, if you would like verification of Carrier's quote re the MI article, I would be happy to email it to you.

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