General Rebuttal to Critics
Solving Mormon’s Puzzle
“Perfect vs. Close-Enough”
How could an engineer solve Mormon’s Puzzle while the “trained professionals” could not? An organization that sets standards begins with a group of individuals who first set standards that include themselves and cut out others not in the group. Standards are not bad, per se. Maybe most are good. However, in looking at any body that sets itself up to pass judgment, one must necessarily ask who they are and what qualifies them to judge the rest of the world. Perhaps most importantly, one needs to look closely at those who abandon a lifelong search for the truth to promote an agenda that profits them directly. Such people and organizations have a fundamental conflict of interest. Those who listen have a right to know of that conflict of interest in such promoters.
Perhaps, then, our opening question is not properly framed. Let’s re-frame it. What makes a group of self-appointed people who major in such fields as art history, religion, archeology, anthropology, and other “humanities” believe they have a corner on scientific inquiry, logic, perception of facts, reason, or just plain observation? Could shameless self-promotion be clouding their ability to consider plain facts? Could a pre-conceived agenda inhibit their ability to observe, reason, and accept truth?
Let me introduce myself. You can make your own judgment of my commitment to education, facts, math, science, and truth in general. Please do not allow other self-appointed “experts” to blind you to true facts as they stand. On the one hand, I mean no harm nor offense to anyone. On the other hand, facts, truth, and history are not kind to those who obstruct the truth for personal gain. Conflicts of interest eventually become known.
Not finding it cost effective to do otherwise, I went straight through college with year-round classes. Interest, need, and the availability of classes stacked my transcript heavy on Numerical Methods.
Now, a computer is a dumb, unreasoning machine, but very fast. Meanwhile, large physical problems are often so complex mathematically, that they can only be solved by trial-and-error methods. Perhaps that sounds very Edisonian – a derogatory title applied by many who look down their noses at experimentalists many who could not hold a candle (or a light bulb) to him.
The reality is that many systems we can see, and can write accurate equations to represent, result in systems of equations that cannot be solved. However, numerical methods allow us to approximate a solution. We can often approach as close as we need to, or even as close as we want to for any useful purpose. Some of the most useful of these techniques are called Predictor-Corrector methods. In each case a prediction is made, the error is determined, a smart correction is applied, the next prediction is made, and the iteration continues to convergence.
In Mormon’s Puzzle case, the figure of merit is the closeness of the fit to the Book of Mormon data. Closeness of the fit is much more complex, multi-dimensional in many more dimensions than the three-dimensional dirt of an archaeological dig. Consider the reality of history, travel, human accomplishments, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, behavioral patterns, human nature, DNA, and even residual place names, etc. Is the process “well behaved” – does the process being studied follow basic rules that can be identified, understood, quantified, interpolated, and extrapolated? Real physics poses real problems encountered in a real world. Naturally, the mathematical problems they pose are usually well behaved and have real solutions. The mathematical solution space is a reduced dimensional approximation to the real world based on our limited knowledge and our limited ability to describe it.
Likewise, real people live and make real history, which is consistent with real human processes. The whole system needs to be brought into the solution. The best solution is the one that minimizes the total error. The supposed perfection required by rigid adherents to one discipline, at the exclusion or expense of other disciplines’ ability to achieve convergence, is therefore not a solution. It is just a dimensionally reduced approximation. The error must be minimized in all disciplines, not just a favorite one. The correct solution satisfies all disciplines. There may be loose ends unexplained, but there should be no outright conflicts or absolute impossibilities.
Yes, I did assume the Book of Mormon to be true for my analyses. Inductive reasoning permits one to assume a solution, inquire into all implications required by that solution, and then search for evidence of those implied facts to prove validity of the solution. The Book of Mormon itself provides many of the clues for solving Mormon’s Puzzle. But even this should not be taken to the exclusion of all the other evidence the Lord has made available. The book, by its own admission, does not include the hundredth part. Because a particular fact is not mentioned in the book is no justification for excluding the possibility of such facts from the investigation process, or as elements of a solution.
The biggest mistake generally made by scholars, other than not studying enough in the actual Book of Mormon itself, has been trying in vain to understand evidentiary details from a modern perspective rather than from the perspective of the ancients themselves. Clearly the Book of Mormon is the standard, but it is not the only measurement device to which any proposed solution and evidence must be reconciled. The evidence must obey the rules of physical reality and human existence on this earth. A technique is lacking if it is not sufficiently self-consistent and robust to fill in some of the missing 99 percent left out of the Book of Mormon.
What are the roles of the various disciplines? Ruins (i.e., garbage dumps) tell us where the action occurred and almost anyone can recognize ruins. Archaeologists have studied sufficient numbers of garbage dumps (i.e., ruins) to be able to tell with remarkable accuracy when events occurred. The high-technology tools available today are truly admirable and will only get better.
For example, anthropologists can perform a very useful function of mapping all available data into the human experience. The extrapolation into the paranormal is left to the “pot smoking” branch of the anthropologists. Historical linguists and etymologists serve a very useful function in tracking language through change, mixing, and decay, as well as in place name verification. Linguists and etymologists lack a handbook that explains all the machinations of language diffusion and alteration. In the physical sciences one first addresses and understands the bulk “macro” dynamics (the most significant bits of data) before addressing the “micro” subtleties (the least significant bits of data).
Migrations induced such trauma to languages in the macro scale that the underlying micro rules cannot even be formulated properly without first incorporating the travels documented in the Book of Mormon. This dilemma is too difficult to “dry lab”. Many yet appear to be in denial of the extent of communication around the globe between Sumerian, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Egyptian, and Chinese languages.
For example, Mayan is a mix. There is not much original about it other than local entropy changes resulting from periods of isolation. Until global transport processes are understood, linguists have no legitimate basis for formulating rules on the entropy of languages. It will never happen – the opportunity has been missed. When the Book of Mormon is no longer a “stumbling block”, the adversarial need for such subterfuge evaporates.
“There is a class of very unscientific writers on many subjects, but especially on Ethnology, who affect a negative method in everything, and ridicule every new thing as belonging rather to the realm of fairy tales than to science. With these writers nothing was ever derived from a strange source, or could have come from anything of which they were ignorant. This tendency is not inspired by truth, but by that timidity rather than prudence which dreads failure or ridicule, and contents itself with theorizing and arranging in the track of bolder minds and true discoverers” (Leland 1875, 83).
Leland showed great wisdom and astute observation into human nature back in 1875. The situation has not changed, because human nature has not. In the instant case, it hurts to have people calling themselves “brothers” playing that adversarial role as self-appointed academic gods condemning to death all ideas not their own. It is unconscionable that they ignorantly seek to destroy ideas, reputations, and theories more valid than their own, before a national media audience. But then, there is nothing new about that approach. Education can be very good, but too much “education” can narrow one’s focus to the point that the obvious is no longer obvious. While “scholars” busy themselves pontificating on why something cannot be done, some uninhibited soul will prove them wrong. That has been the modus operandi since the beginning. In accomplishments ranging from the four-minute mile, to electrical power, to putting a man on the moon, conventional thinkers stuck to their thoroughly and literally grounded ways of thinking. Progress marched beyond them.
May I suggest an observation that each of several disciplines appear to have taken exclusive ownership of the right to solve Mormon’s Puzzle. Each hides behind its area of expertise as a shield with all afraid to “think outside that box”. How can any discovery result? The solution requires broader thinking than academia will allow – not by their talk, but by their walk. How could an engineer (rocket scientist) solve Mormon’s Puzzle while trained professionals in the conventional disciplines of human history could not? They could have. They could not only because they would not.
The lobstermen of New England know how to collect lobsters in a “lobster bucket”. None will ever escape, because as one attempts to climb out, the others pull it back in. Likewise, the incestuous quoting circles of traditional thought among the scribes were decried by Christ, who “spoke not as the scribes and Pharisees.” Such quoting of one another keeps academics’ reputations secure, on top of their game, and so very conventional. What objective, scientific, factual, figure of merit can they point to? It cannot be the number of ideas suppressed as unworthy or sufficiently rigorous to meet their lofty standards. Puny man was put on the moon by imperfect ideas, and mathematical approximations that were “good enough”. So, without rancor, but as an open question, I propose that all who wish to criticize must earn their own stripes by satisfying as many factual elements as I have. They must satisfy the requirements imposed by as many disciplines as I have. It is easy for anyone, even an inexperienced, high school, debate student, to criticize anyone or anything for not meeting some arbitrary, rigorous list of requirements created by someone else. But by such rigor, we can prove that bumblebees cannot fly, that man cannot get to the moon, and that the Berlin wall will never come down. Oh, but those all happened? Then maybe, as Ronald Reagan once said about his adversaries “so much of what they know, just isn’t true.”