Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Criticism of the Zomarah Blog Post on Decoding the Book of Abraham

https://zomarah.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/decoding-the-book-of-abraham-part-1/

Here is a web archive copy of this article:

https://web.archive.org/web/20120421205646/http://zomarah.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/decoding-the-book-of-abraham-part-1/

This post was pointed out to me by someone on a message board.
I don't recommend this post as being very correct, although it has some good points.
It points out that we should expect that in some of Joseph Smith's Egyptian, there would be internal consistency.  That is true.  Consistency can be demonstrated.

However, this author's other deductions are incorrect, that he can just "translate" something using the internal consistency that he can see in some of it.  The reason that this cannot be done is because of other principles that I have pointed out in this blog in other blog posts.  The abstract nature of the pictographs in the Sensen text and in the Facsimiles pictures are things that match up with their explanations.  In other words, there is consistency between the explanations and the symbols that are used to represent them.  But the problem is, the abstractions are ENTIRELY dependent on these outside things giving them context.  They have external dependencies, and so, in themselves, they are meaningless.

It's like the hash analogy in computer programming.  It is a one-way thing.  If you have information already that a hash is derived from, you can show that the hash fits with the item of information.  However, you cannot go the other way.  You cannot reconstruct information from a hash.

Another example:  A very pixelated and blurred picture can be derived from a high-res photograph, and can be reproduced from that photograph.  And it can be demonstrated through the same process that it can be reproduced from it.  Therefore, it can be shown that it belongs with it, or is tied to it.  Nevertheless, the high res photograph cannot be reproduced or reversed from the blurred/pixelated photograph, because data has been lost in the process.

Similarly, you cannot take these symbols as pictographs and reliably translate the rest of the Book of Abraham from them.  You must have that information revealed to you, although the symbols do indeed represent it.  Because just because you have symbols, that doesn't help you.  The symbols do not contain data, only fingerprints of data.

This is my fundamental criticism of this blog post on the Zomarah blog.  Patterns can be shown, but it cannot be translated the way he says.  Since context is dependent on external information, and we don't have further external information, we cannot duplicate what Joseph Smith was doing.  We can only test what he has already done.  It would require another seer to do the same type of thing that Joseph Smith was doing through revelation.