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Estimating the Evidence

Estimating the Evidence, Episode 23: On Conclusions

After summarizing the strongest pieces of evidence we’ve considered in our statistical journey, we discuss what we can conclude from our Bayesian analyses. Though that evidence doesn’t represent unassailable proof for the Restoration and all it entails, what it does is show how belief in an authentic Book of Mormon can be reasonable, which supports further reasoned belief in God and Christ. ...

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 21: On Onomastic Origins

It seems unlikely that the Book of Mormon could have so many names that can be traced to ancient Semitic and Egyptian, and for those ancient meanings to form wordplays and other connections with the text itself. There’s been a substantial amount of faithful scholarship looking at the dozens of unique personal and geographic names in the Book of Mormon, scholarship that purports to find a large number of interesting connections with Semitic and Egyptian languages. ...

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 19: On Uto-Aztecan

It seems unlikely that the similarities we can observe between Egyptian/Semitic and Uto-Aztecan languages could have arisen by chance. Few Book of Mormon-related discoveries have had as much impact or have generated as much controversy as Brian Stubbs’ proposal connecting Egyptian and Semitic with the Uto-Aztecan languages of northern Mexico and the southwest U.S. ...

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 17: On Geographical Consistency

It seems unlikely that Joseph could keep the Book of Mormon’s complex geographical details straight without committing frequent and obvious errors, particularly while dictating the text in a single draft. The Book of Mormon details a complex world, referencing over 101 different cities and geographical features tied together in a dense web of over 150 unique geographic relationships. ...

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 15: On Trajectories of Truth

It seems unlikely that an allegedly fraudulent text could become more plausible after decades of intense critical examination. Over time, critics of the Book of Mormon have unearthed dozens of anachronisms and alleged historical errors within the book’s pages. In their turn, faithful scholars have demonstrated that most of those criticisms are unfounded, leading the book’s plausibility to increase substantially as the decades have passed....

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 11: On Imprinted Words

It seems unlikely that someone could fake stylometric evidence for multiple authors within the Book of Mormon text. Stylometric evidence regarding the Book of Mormon has been around for almost four decades now. It made a bit of a splash back in the 80s, but it seems to be plagued by dismissal from critics and ambivalence from the faithful....

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 9: On Too-Olde English

It seems unlikely that Joseph or his scribes could fill the Book of Mormon with examples of grammar and word use that fit better in Early Modern English than in the nineteenth century. Stanford Carmack and Royal Skousen have painstakingly documented a strange argument—that much of the language used in the Book of Mormon reflects usage patterns that align with the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, making it unlikely that Joseph or anyone else in the nineteenth century authored the book. ...

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 12: On Hebraic Views and Late Wars

It seems unlikely that the Book of Mormon should show so many parallels to nineteenth-century books if it was really an authentic ancient work. Critics have established a bit of a cottage industry when it comes finding potential books from which Joseph could have plagiarized the Book of Mormon. Though there are a number of books that could be considered, we focus here on two of the main candidates: A View of the Hebrews and The Late War. ...

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 10: On Plagiarizing the King James

It seems unlikely that an independent translation of Isaiah could be so similar to the King James text, while at the same time different from it in such apparently fraudulent ways. Much has been made of the material shared between the Book of Mormon and the 1769 King James Bible, in the Isaiah chapters and elsewhere, with the implication that the material was plagiarized by Joseph as he was writing the Book of Mormon. ...

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 8: On Very Long Boat Rides

It seems unlikely that Nephi could have built and sailed a boat from the Arabian Peninsula to the New World. Though some critics have labeled Nephi’s voyage as an impossibility, those perceptions are largely based on the assumption that Nephi had to have built a Renaissance-style sailing vessel, as if the Nina, Pinta, or the Santa Maria were Nephi’s only options....

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Estimating the Evidence, Episode 4: On Nephite Genetics

It seems unlikely that the colonization of the American continent described in the Book of Mormon would’ve left no genetic evidence in modern (or ancient) Indigenous populations.

Critics of the Book of Mormon can be relied on to bring up the subject of DNA, even though most on both sides have little expertise with which to grapple with the argument.


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