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byrnema comments on How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3 - Less Wrong

53 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 September 2007 11:00PM

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Comment author: byrnema 29 July 2011 12:59:51PM *  0 points [-]

I gather the discussion of the whole thread rests on this unexpected premise:

we can assume a correlated truthiness with the remainder of the story

Stories always have a blend of fact and fiction. Accounts of travels, culture and civilizations may have some seeds of truth, but other parts about God's intentions and angels needn't be true.

My sense is that you are collectively underestimating how unpredictably information can pass down family lines and through traveling story-tellers, scholars and historians.

we must use archaeological evidence that would not have been available to Joseph Smith; that is, evidence lacking from what we must assume would be the knowledge available to a 21-year old unschooled farmhand in upstate New York in 1827

There's a lot packed into this. To give an analogy for a non-theistic example, if some details prove correct about the collective community's awareness of the lost location of Atlantis, Hans Christian Anderson shouldn't get credit for 'knowing' these details when he included them in The Little Mermaid.