Skip to comments.Odds of 'Lost Tomb' Being Jesus' Family Rest on Assumptions
Posted on 03/10/2007 11:07:30 PM PST by CutePuppy
Odds of 'Lost Tomb' Being Jesus' Family Rest on Assumptions
Until two weeks ago, University of Toronto statistician Andrey Feuerverger's body of research encompassed uncontroversial topics such as medical scanning and correcting for camera blurring.
Prof. Feuerverger calculated there is just a one-in-600 chance that those same names would have come together in a family that didn't belong to Jesus of Nazareth.
But the one-in-600 calculation is based on many assumptions about the prevalence of the names and their biblical significance. For purposes of his calculations, Prof. Feuerverger relied on new scholarly research that links the inscription "Mariamene e Mara" with a name for Mary Magdalene. (The filmmakers suggest that she was Christ's wife and that they are buried with a son, Judah -- claims hotly denounced by traditional Christians.)
Had the professor assumed the inscription could be for any Mary, a very common name then, it would be far less likely that Christ's family is in the tomb. The mathematical finding would become "statistically not significant," Prof. Feuerverger tells me. Similarly, the name "Yose" -- as one of Jesus' four brothers was called in the Gospel of Mark -- is a derivative of Yosef, another common name. There, too, the finding would be less conclusive if the professor had considered "Yose" applicable to any Yosef.
"As you pile on more assumptions, you're building a house of cards," says Keith Devlin, a Stanford mathematician and NPR's "Math Guy." (Scientific American also challenged the calculation on its Web site.)
No one is questioning Prof. Feuerverger's statistical credentials, or his calculation given the assumptions made. ... ... But his conclusion is only as reliable as the assumptions that went into it.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
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The statistician could not possibly give reliable odds on this one. Anyone who has glanced at the names knows that they can be read in several different ways because the script is so difficult to interpret.
Speaking of odds, to quote the Odd Couple-- when you "assume" you make an "@ss" of "u" and "me"...
Discovery channel has been showing science programs with proaganda comments inserted about "Global Warming Crisis Caused By Man" being valid.
In all of these stories of this "discovery," there is a dog that isn't barking, a dog that would have been in the cave, if this were true, and would be remarked upon by archeologists if the dog was there, because they would have understood its significance.
You lost me at the dog barking.
This is the one statement that is repeated ad infinitum, that chaps my hide.
It may be "hotly denounced" by some Christians, but mostly ignored by the vast majority.
Let's face it; Christianity has as many nut cases and the insane as any other "group"; but I feel certain that most Christians have the same attitude as I do: smiling amusement followed by --- absolutely nothing.
The same reaction resulting from reading The Flat Earth, or The Hollow Earth two "serious" and entertaining books at one time.
I wish I were a statistician (I'm not), although at one time I had to learn more than a passing familiarity with it.
Knowing how many assumptions are made, there is a quite easy relationship that holds, as to the likely reliability of the final results. Exactly the same holds true of the "Global Warming" models. The more assumptions go into the the final "results", the less likely that those results are meaningful, if the input requires "guessing", "judgement" or "let's assume".
As the extreme example, if only one critical factor (mathematically speaking) out of 1000 is absolutely wrong (value=0) the results are also totally wrong, even if the other 999 factors are correct.
I often wonder how difficult it would be to bring up to speed the 95% of Americans who are functional morons where it comes to math and science...
Cultural Literacy... Sherlock Holmes.
It's not about dog barking. It's about "dog that didn't bark".
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
Well said. Statistics are only as good as the assumptions used. Same goes for all these "global warming" and other "scientific certainties" that have far more unfounded assumptions in them than there are facts, if any, and that are obvious scams perpetrated for reasons to advance the agendas based on getting power and money. Not only that, but even accurate statistics or subset could be used to "substantiate" false arguments.
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, darn lies, and then there are statistics".
thanks go to GoLightly and xcamel for compiling the list (thus far) of such topics, and to whomever started the handy keyword:
Sorted this to chrono order:
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
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