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Re: Whose tomb ?

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  • Zachi
    I think the statistics here are completely flawed , since the statisticians who did them used flawed assumptions. In statistics you always have an hypothesis
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 1, 2007
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      I think the statistics here are completely flawed , since the
      statisticians who did them used flawed assumptions. In statistics you
      always have an hypothesis you accept or reject. There was no real
      predefined hypothesis here, but only a sham hypothesis that was
      created from the excavation results This is circular reasoning!

      There was no reason to calculate the probability that those 6 names
      will appear together, because no one ever proposed they should be
      found together. In addition, only 3 (Yeshua, Maria and Yose) out of 6
      can be considered a coincidence that can be taken into account, but
      since we have three names that we have no reason to assume to be part
      of the known family, it should only reduce the probability.

      It's true that we should not take the NT at face value, and there
      could many way to reconstruct historical facts. The thing is that
      when doing probability tests we don't have that kind of freedom. If
      someone had previously published an article that suggests that Jesus
      might have had a son named Yehuda, probably married to Mariemene and
      was buried with Matya, then this kind of find would have been really
      shocking.

      Zachi Zweig


      --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "George Athas" <george.athas@...> wrote:
      >
      > > The study concludes that the odds are at least 600 to 1 in favor
      > > of the Talpiot Tomb being the Jesus Family Tomb. In other
      > > words, the conclusion works 599 times out of 600."
      >
      > No, the odds are 600 to 1 that the tomb belonged to all the names
      inscribed
      > on the ossuaries.
      >
      > What are the chances that humans can fudge statistics?
      >
      >
      >
      > Best Regards,
      >
      > GEORGE ATHAS
      > Moore Theological College (Sydney)
      > 1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
      > Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • Ariel L. Szczupak
      ... I saw this :( It was written by someone with very little understanding of statistics. And if this is taken from the text of the movie, then the movie won t
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 1, 2007
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        At 10:39 PM 2/28/2007, Doug Weller wrote:

        >Hi Ariel,
        >
        >Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 7:55:27 PM, you wrote:
        >
        > > At 06:02 PM 2/28/2007, Eliot Braun wrote:
        > >>[...] Even the 'statistical' indications of the chances of one tomb
        > >>producing names of so many people from the NT story of Jesus are suspect.
        >
        > > Yes they are. I'm waiting to see the details. If anyone has a URL,
        > > please let me know.
        >
        >The Discover Channel website has this:

        I saw this :( It was written by someone with very little
        understanding of statistics. And if this is taken from the text of
        the movie, then the movie won't be much help either.

        But I'll use the quote to point the things I'll be looking if and
        when there'll be a more serious publication of the statistical aspect

        >"But Andrey Feuerverger, professor of statistics and mathematics at
        >the University of Toronto, recently conducted a study addressing the
        >probabilities that will soon be published in a leading statistical journal.
        >
        >Feuerverger multiplied the instances that each name appeared during
        >the tomb's time period with the instances of every other name. He
        >initially found "Jesus Son of Joseph" appeared once out of 190
        >times, Mariamne appeared once out of 160 times and so on.

        As it is, this paragraph doesn't make much sense. It seems to say
        that Feuerverger claims a 1/190 frequency for "Jesus son of Joseph"
        and a 1/160 frequency for "Mariamne", which he then multiplies
        getting a 1/30400 expected frequency, or probability, for the
        combination of the two. I.e. some 33 such cases in a population of a
        million (which I think is a reasonable assumption for that period?).

        I'm not sure what the numbers 190 and 160 represent and they seem
        small compared to what I've seen on the number of names evidenced for
        that period. And multiplying the frequency of a single name with the
        frequency of a double one has to be shown to be valid.

        You multiply frequencies, or probabilities, only when these
        frequencies are independent of each other within a common set. E.g.
        if you multiply the frequency of green apples by the frequency of
        white grapes you don't predict correctly the frequency of green
        apples and white grapes on one plant. E.g. if you multiply the
        frequency of tall people (above a certain height) with the frequency
        of short people (below a certain height) you don't predict correctly
        the frequency of tall-short couples.

        So I need a detailed exposition of the procedure and the reasoning to
        understand what Feuerverger is doing.

        But I'll take some elements out of this paragraph to illustrate an
        important point.

        There's a 1/6 probability of getting a specific number when rolling a
        dice, and a 1/36 (1/6*1/6) probability of getting a specific pair of
        numbers when rolling a pair of dice. If the frequency of number pairs
        that is evidenced is not 1/36 for each of number pairs there can be
        two reasons. 1st, the evidence is not a representative sample, i.e.
        the pair of dice were not rolled enough times. 2nd, the results of
        rolling the dice are not randomly distributed, e.g. the dice are loaded.

        Or, if the single dice rolls result in a random distribution (1/6
        frequency for each number) but the pair rolls don't, the reason could
        be magnets in the dice that attract certain sides of the dice to each
        other, skewing the random distribution of pair rolls without
        affecting the single dice rolls.

        We have as evidence a set of names from that period. The frequency in
        which each specific name appears in that set is its probability. If
        you multiply the frequency of "Jesus" with the frequency of "Joseph"
        you get the expected frequency of these two names appearing together.
        If that predicted frequency is "more or less" (see below) the
        evidenced frequency in which "Jesus son of Joseph" and "Joseph son of
        Jesus" appear in the set of names, all is well (statistically). If
        not, either the sample is not representative or double names are not
        random combinations of single names and simple frequency
        multiplication is not the correct method to predict the frequencies
        of double names.

        The general point is that the existing evidence has to be evaluated,
        assessed, in order to determine if it is usable, statistically, and
        if so, what are the appropriate statistical tools.

        This is something basic, and it will have to be detailed in a
        scientific publication. I don't know enough about population and name
        statistics to be able to criticize Feuerverger. What I'll be looking
        for is reactions from experts in such statistics to see if they
        accept Feuerverger's assessment of the evidence and how to use it
        statistically.

        For example, the expertise in the field of population statistics
        should indicate what is the statistical test that determines if the
        evidenced frequency is indeed "more or less" the predicted one.
        Statistical results are usually accompanied by such tests to
        determine how significant, trustable, these results are.


        >To be conservative, he next divided the resulting numbers by 25
        >percent, a statistical standard, and further divided the results by
        >1,000 to attempt to account for all tombs ?

        No idea what that means.


        >even those that have not been uncovered ? that could have existed in
        >first century Jerusalem.

        That actually makes sense. A calculation of the probability of name
        groups appearing together in one tomb is based on an assumption that
        the entire population can be divided into such groups, i.e. could
        have had such tombs. Whether they did or not, or whether we know if
        they did or not, is not important. What is important is if we can
        assume that they could have had such tombs if they wanted to, and I
        think that's a reasonable assumption.


        >The study concludes that the odds are at least 600 to 1 in favor of
        >the Talpiot Tomb being the Jesus Family Tomb. In other words, the
        >conclusion works 599 times out of 600."

        This is the really problematic paragraph.

        First, I'm not really sure what is claimed because the first sentence
        seems to imply a probability while the second seems to apply a degree
        of confidence in a calculated probability. If it is a degree of
        confidence (chi squared etc), the type of test and the result to
        which it is applied will have to be specified in a scientific publication.

        If it is a probability, it means that Feuerverger claims that the
        probability of there being only one such set of names is 599/600. In
        other words, that the probability of there being two, or more, such
        sets of names is 1/600. If the population is a million with 10 people
        families (i.e. "10 people per tomb") that means 100,000 families,
        100,000 potential tombs. Given this number of potential tombs the
        claim is that there will be 167 cases of duplicate sets of such names.

        This is not a result I'd use to support a claim that this tomb is
        "very likely" the one and only one ... That's a "duh?" result.

        For comparison, in forensic DNA results the test is usually if the
        probability of a combination of DNA markers is lower than one per the
        entire possible population of suspects. E.g. in Israel (population of
        ~8 million including tourists etc), the result for a male suspect
        should be lower than 1/4,000,000. With the assumptions above, a more
        serious claim would be of a probability of two such sets of names
        being lower than 1/100,000 or "odds" of at least 100,000 to 1. Even
        if you cram 100 people in each tomb you'd still need odds of 10,000
        to 1, not 600 to 1.

        And it's very important to see if the calculation included the
        frequency of the name Judah, or not. Every added name, every increase
        in the number of names in the set, will lower the probability of
        there being several such sets.

        We all know that the evidence is not clear about what names should be
        included in the "Jesus Family" set, and some of that evidence
        actually claims there shouldn't be physical remains of Jesus in a
        tomb at all. But let's take the largest group, i.e. including John &
        Mary Magdalene. That leaves us with the son, Judah. As far as I know
        there is no evidence that claims explicitly that Jesus had a son, let
        alone what his name was.

        Putting aside obvious problems with defining what names should be in
        the "Jesus Family" set, a possible argument could be:

        - The probability of there being only one family with the "Jesus
        Family" set of names (without Judah) is very high.
        - Therefore there's a very high probability that Jesus had a son, Judah.

        But if the "very high" probability is reached by including the Judah
        frequency in the calculation, the argument becomes invalid, circular.


        So the bottom line is that in order to understand the claim and why
        it made I will have to wait for Feuerverger's paper, or some
        equivalent publication.


        Ariel.

        [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

        ---
        Ariel L. Szczupak
        AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
        POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
        Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
        ane.als@...
      • Ariel L. Szczupak
        ... James, James, James ... Ariel. [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!] ... Ariel L. Szczupak AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.) POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 1, 2007
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          At 01:01 PM 3/1/2007, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote:
          >[...] including John & Mary Magdalene.

          James, James, James ...



          Ariel.

          [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

          ---
          Ariel L. Szczupak
          AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
          POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
          Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
          ane.als@...
        • goranson@duke.edu
          ... There do appear to be problems with the show s statistics and DNA claims. Since burial niches were ordinarily reused and ossuaries often held more than one
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 1, 2007
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            Quoting "Ariel L. Szczupak" <ane.als@...>:

            > At 06:02 PM 2/28/2007, Eliot Braun wrote:
            >> [...] Even the 'statistical' indications of the chances of one tomb
            >> producing names of so many people from the NT story of Jesus are suspect.
            >
            > Yes they are. I'm waiting to see the details. If anyone has a URL,
            > please let me know.

            There do appear to be problems with the show's statistics and DNA
            claims. Since burial niches were ordinarily reused and ossuaries often
            held more than one set
            of remains, and since, apparently, the tomb was disturbed in ancient and in
            modern times, there is no secure link between a DNA sample and a particular
            inscription.

            Though various sets of statistics have been presented, the assumptions
            on which
            they are based are questionable. For one example, it biases the results to
            emphasize that the Talpiot ossuary with Jesus son of Joseph (if that's the
            correct reading) is from a controlled dig while the earlier found ossuary with
            Jesus son of Joseph was not (though the earlier one was in a museum and
            apparently involved no money-making or hoaxing and is quite likely genuine and
            likely from Jerusalem) while, simultaneously, claiming that the "James"
            ossuary
            came from Talpiot, an ossuary whose inscription and provenance are, to say the
            least, questioned.

            Stephen Goranson
            http://www.duke.edu/~goranson
          • Ariel L. Szczupak
            Reply to several offlist comments. ... I m not talking about the population of Jerusalem proper but of the country. I think that s the correct population
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 1, 2007
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              Reply to several offlist comments.

              At 01:01 PM 3/1/2007, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote:
              >[...] a population of a million (which I think is a reasonable
              >assumption for that period?).

              I'm not talking about the population of Jerusalem proper but of the
              country. I think that's the correct population figure to use in
              general, but it's especially appropriate to this case as the claim is
              that Jesus of Nazareth and Mary of Migdal are buried in this tomb.



              Ariel.

              [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

              ---
              Ariel L. Szczupak
              AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
              POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
              Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
              ane.als@...
            • Doug Weller
              I just found this statistical analysis - like the other one, it assumes the names are correct. I have computed that the probability of the tomb in the Talpiot
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 1, 2007
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                I just found this statistical analysis - like the other one, it assumes the names are correct.
                I have computed that the probability of the tomb in the Talpiot
                district of Jerusalem being the family tomb of the Jesus of Nazareth
                is at least 12 to 1 *against*. Apparently the makers of the movie
                calculated the probability that more than one family living in ancient
                Jerusalem would produce a cluster of names like the ones discovered in
                the tomb in the Talpiot district of Jerusalem, and found that this
                probability is very small and that therefore this must be the tomb of
                Jesus of Nazareth's family. But I think they asked the wrong question.
                The right question is: How many families living in ancient Jerusalem
                would produce a cluster of names in a tomb that would appear to be as
                similar to the names in Jesus' family as the cluster of names actually
                found? And the answer is that more than 12 families would have
                produced such remarkable cluster of names in a tomb.

                Here is how I computed this number. According to the gospels Jesus'
                family consisted of Joseph and Mary, Jesus, and four male brothers of
                Jesus named James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (besides unnamed female
                siblings). We also know the approximate frequency of names in ancient
                Palestine. According to
                http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/02/jesus-tomb-titanic-talpiot-tomb-theory.html

                these are: 9.2%, 8.3%, 6.2% and 3.8% for Simon, Joseph, Judas and
                Jesus respectively for male names, and Mary's name frequency is a
                whooping 21.3% for female names. The tomb discovered in Talpiot
                contained 10 ossuaries, of which 6 carried inscriptions. The relevant
                inscriptions here are "Jesus son of Joseph", "Mary", "Mary", and
                "Joseph". These inscriptions were in different languages and used
                different forms for these names, but that's about it. (see:
                http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070228135009.htm ) I read
                somewhere that first century Jerusalem had about 50,000 inhabitants.
                As the period in question spanned various generations I used a
                population of 10,000 families.

                I wrote a computer program simulation that actually randomly produced
                10,000 families of 10 members each (keeping the right name
                frequencies) and then proceeded to compute the following average
                numbers:

                111 families would have a Jesus son of Joseph. I understand that in
                fact other ossuaries have been found with the inscription "Jesus son
                of Joseph".

                75 families would moreover have at least one Mary.

                71 families would moreover have one more name that belongs to Jesus'
                family, be it Joseph, Simon or Judas, or maybe a second Mary
                (supposedly Mary Magdalene).

                43 families would have two more such names. One of such clusters might
                be: [Jesus son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Joseph], as is the one
                discovered in the Talpiot tomb.

                And 16 families would have three more such names. Here is in detail
                the very first family case my simulation produced: An unnamed (i.e.
                with no relevant names) couple have three children: a daughter Mary, a
                son Joseph, and an unnamed second daughter. Their daughter Mary
                marries Simon and produces an unnamed daughter. Their son Joseph
                marries an unnamed wife and produces two children, Jesus and Mary.
                Voila: A family cluster of 10 whose tomb might have had inscriptions
                "Jesus son of Joseph", "Mary", "Joseph", "Mary", and "Simon" - all
                names related to the circle of Jesus of Nazareth, but this is not
                Jesus Christ's family. Nevertheless this cluster would appear to be
                even more statistically conspicuous than the one discovered in the
                Talpiot tomb.

                The film producers have tested the DNA of one of the Mary's and
                discovered it is not maternally related to Jesus' DNA. I compute that
                adding this condition we still get 12 families. Here is the very first
                such case my simulation produced: A Jesus (whose father was named
                Joseph) marries a Mary and has 4 children: Simon, Jesus, and two more unnamed ones. Their son Simon marries a second Mary but have no children that would be buried in the family tomb. One unnamed daughter marries Joseph and has a daughter Mary. That's the second Mary who is also not maternally related to "Jesus son of Joseph". - So, any of these 12 families might have produced tomb even more conspicuous than the one found, but at most one of these families could be Jesus'. Hence the chance of the Talpiot tomb being Jesus is less than 1/12.

                Further: Taking into account that Jesus' family was not from
                Jerusalem, that his family was too poor to afford a family tomb, that
                if Jesus' bones were put in an ossuary one would expect the ossuary
                itself or the inscription on it to be more special in some way, and
                that if Jesus' body was buried in a tomb to decompose and then put in
                an ossuary then probably somebody would have found out back then when
                so much was made of Jesus' bodily ascension to heaven - taking all
                that into account the probability of the Talpiot tomb being of Jesus
                is much less than 12 to 1 against. Finally, if the movie producers
                really believed that this was Jesus' tomb one would expect that they
                would have asked neutral professional archeologists to evaluate their
                evidence or argumentation - which they haven't done.

                There is some more arguments, such as the "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus" ossuary (see:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ossuary )
                having come from this same tomb, but the archaeologist who first
                studied the tomb flatly denies it (see:
                http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1171894527185&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull )
                and the archeological report on the Talpiot tomb counts six ossuaries
                with inscriptions, all accounted for (go to
                http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/explore/explore.html
                and
                click on "Enter the Tomb", then on "Download Documents" and then on
                "Download PDF").

                I did the above computations in a hurry and it's possible that I have
                committed some mistake. If you send me an email to
                dianelos@... I will gladly send you a copy of the program I
                wrote, so that you can check it yourself. It's written in Pascal, and
                it's a simple 150 lines program that any programmer can read.

                Doug Weller
              • OAK
                Wonderful statistical analysis -- thanks a lot. And an additional factor that nobody seems take in consideration is that we are probably not looking at a
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 1, 2007
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                  Wonderful statistical analysis -- thanks a lot.

                  And an additional factor that nobody seems take in consideration is that we are probably not looking at a single generation of deaths which all of the statistical analysis seems to be based upon. It is far more likely we are looking at several generations. Obviously this consideration would lower the probability factors drastically. In addition since we have no dates of the death order who knows whether Joseph of Talpiot may not have died in 90 and Mary of Talpiot in 25 and Jose the imagined son of Jesus in 10 etc. Not having such data, the span of time and the death order, makes statistical analysis at best complete conjecture it would seem, which, I guess is fitting with the rest of the extravagant unscholarly claims.

                  Everett Oakley
                  Houston, Texas

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Peter T. Daniels
                  You must be referring to a different Jesus ... -- Peter T. Daniels grammatim@verizon.net ... From: OAK To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Sent:
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                    You must be referring to a different Jesus ...

                    --
                    Peter T. Daniels grammatim@...



                    ----- Original Message ----
                    From: OAK <eoakley3@...>
                    To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2007 6:55:38 PM
                    Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Whose tomb ?

                    Wonderful statistical analysis -- thanks a lot.

                    And an additional factor that nobody seems take in consideration is that we are probably not looking at a single generation of deaths which all of the statistical analysis seems to be based upon. It is far more likely we are looking at several generations. Obviously this consideration would lower the probability factors drastically. In addition since we have no dates of the death order who knows whether Joseph of Talpiot may not have died in 90 and Mary of Talpiot in 25 and Jose the imagined son of Jesus in 10 etc.

                    <...>
                  • Peter Nathan
                    For the record, Kloner s report from Atiqot notes that remains of at least 35 people were recovered from the tomb, 17 in the 10 ossuaries and 18 others.
                    Message 9 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                      For the record, Kloner's report from 'Atiqot notes that remains of at
                      least 35 people were recovered from the tomb, 17 in the 10 ossuaries and
                      18 others. Bearing in mind that the ossuaries had been tampered with,
                      the numbers originally in ossuaries would have been higher. So we are
                      clearly dealing with a multi-generational family tomb. This would have
                      been a small tomb in relation to some of the other discoveries which
                      have had up to 80 people interred.

                      The 'Caiaphas tomb" also in Talpiot area had six ossuaries with human
                      remains, the rest of the ossuaries had been emptied by grave robbers or
                      others. Some of those ossuaries had up to six sets of remains. The
                      same is true of the Mr Scopus tomb that Sussman reported in 'Atiqot 1992.

                      --
                      Best wishes,

                      Peter Nathan
                      ___________
                      Peter Nathan
                      476 S. Marengo
                      Pasadena
                      CA. 91101
                      Tel. Office: 626-535-0444/204
                      Tel. Home: 626-357-9995
                      Facsimile: 626-535-0455
                      Cellular: 626-353-7309

                      Call me on SKYPE: free internet telephony
                      http://www.skype.com (username: peternathan)
                    • Ariel L. Szczupak
                      At 01:01 PM 3/1/2007, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote: [...] ... The Discovery Channel PDF ...
                      Message 10 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                        At 01:01 PM 3/1/2007, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote:
                        [...]
                        >That's a "duh?" result.

                        The Discovery Channel PDF ...

                        http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/explore/media/tomb_evidence.pdf

                        ... has [p.13] basically the same text as on the web page but has
                        also some computations. I don't understand the last two, but I'll use
                        the first three.

                        I'll add to it another bit of info from an article in today's Yediot
                        Aharonot printed supplement which says that in those calculations the
                        population of Jerusalem was assumed to be of 100,000. [Again I think
                        the calculations should be made using the country's population, not
                        just Jerusalem's, but for the sake of this demonstration I'll use it]

                        When they (whomever wrote what's in the PDF) say that the frequency
                        of "Jesus son of Joseph" is 1/190, that means that 1 out of 190
                        persons will have that name. That means that in a population of
                        100,000 persons there'll be 526 persons with this name.

                        How do I know it's "persons" and not "males"? Because in the 2nd &
                        3rd calculations the frequencies are multiplied as-is without
                        separating male-names from-female names or halving the frequencies.
                        [If the frequency of "Jesus son of Joseph" is 1 of 190 male-names,
                        then the frequency is 1/380 for the general male/female population]

                        The 3rd calculation claims that the probability of the four names
                        appearing together, as calculated from the frequencies of individual
                        names, is 1/2,400,00. That means that if you check the names in
                        4-person groups, only one of every 2,400,000 will have those exact four names.

                        Impressive, right?

                        Now let's see how many 4-person combinations, order not important and
                        without repeats (can't have one person dying twice), we can have
                        given a population of 100,000?

                        The formula (which you'll find in any basic text on statistics) is
                        n!/(r!(n-r)!)

                        [n is the number of items to choose from, r is the number of items
                        that are chosen together each time, ! is factorial (n! = 1*2*3*...*n)

                        In this case we have 100,000!/(4!(100,000-4)!), or (courtesy of a
                        spreadsheet) 4,166,416,671,249,980,000.

                        Every 2,400,000 of these 4,166,416,671,249,980,000 4-person groups
                        will have these four names. How many is that?

                        1,736,006,946,354.16

                        I.e. given the probability they calculated for those four names,
                        checking all the possible combinations of 4-person groups (no order,
                        no repetitions) in a population of 100,000 will result in some 1.7
                        trillion and change such possible groups having those four names.

                        Duh? DUH?

                        One of the reasons for such a ridiculous result is the 1/4 frequency
                        for "Maria". It means that out of the 100,000 people, 25,000 were
                        called Maria. Or that every second woman was called Maria. And since
                        they call the wind Maria, that's a little bit too much wind.

                        So I doubt we'll be able to figure out this "600 to 1" claim without
                        a serious publication.



                        Ariel.

                        [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                        ---
                        Ariel L. Szczupak
                        AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                        POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
                        Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                        ane.als@...
                      • Joe Zias
                        The math/probability is a real snow job, e.g for starters pop. of Jrsm ca 30 AD was about 50,000 at the most and a good percentage of those were not even
                        Message 11 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                          The math/probability is a real snow job, e.g for starters pop. of Jrsm ca 30 AD was about 50,000 at the most and a good percentage of those were not even Jewish. They up the ante to 100,000 as if everyone was Jewish and rig the math game as they have all along. don't buy into it. They have rigged the 'game' from the beginning, their geneaolgy chart is a good example of ignoring the fact that the tomb is an extended family running up to 100 yrs from 30 BC to 70 AD.

                          Joe Zias

                          "Ariel L. Szczupak" <ane.als@...> wrote: At 01:01 PM 3/1/2007, Ariel L. Szczupak wrote:
                          [...]
                          >That's a "duh?" result.

                          The Discovery Channel PDF ...

                          http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/explore/media/tomb_evidence.pdf

                          ... has [p.13] basically the same text as on the web page but has
                          also some computations. I don't understand the last two, but I'll use
                          the first three.

                          I'll add to it another bit of info from an article in today's Yediot
                          Aharonot printed supplement which says that in those calculations the
                          population of Jerusalem was assumed to be of 100,000. [Again I think
                          the calculations should be made using the country's population, not
                          just Jerusalem's, but for the sake of this demonstration I'll use it]

                          When they (whomever wrote what's in the PDF) say that the frequency
                          of "Jesus son of Joseph" is 1/190, that means that 1 out of 190
                          persons will have that name. That means that in a population of
                          100,000 persons there'll be 526 persons with this name.

                          How do I know it's "persons" and not "males"? Because in the 2nd &
                          3rd calculations the frequencies are multiplied as-is without
                          separating male-names from-female names or halving the frequencies.
                          [If the frequency of "Jesus son of Joseph" is 1 of 190 male-names,
                          then the frequency is 1/380 for the general male/female population]

                          The 3rd calculation claims that the probability of the four names
                          appearing together, as calculated from the frequencies of individual
                          names, is 1/2,400,00. That means that if you check the names in
                          4-person groups, only one of every 2,400,000 will have those exact four names.

                          Impressive, right?

                          Now let's see how many 4-person combinations, order not important and
                          without repeats (can't have one person dying twice), we can have
                          given a population of 100,000?

                          The formula (which you'll find in any basic text on statistics) is
                          n!/(r!(n-r)!)

                          [n is the number of items to choose from, r is the number of items
                          that are chosen together each time, ! is factorial (n! = 1*2*3*...*n)

                          In this case we have 100,000!/(4!(100,000-4)!), or (courtesy of a
                          spreadsheet) 4,166,416,671,249,980,000.

                          Every 2,400,000 of these 4,166,416,671,249,980,000 4-person groups
                          will have these four names. How many is that?

                          1,736,006,946,354.16

                          I.e. given the probability they calculated for those four names,
                          checking all the possible combinations of 4-person groups (no order,
                          no repetitions) in a population of 100,000 will result in some 1.7
                          trillion and change such possible groups having those four names.

                          Duh? DUH?

                          One of the reasons for such a ridiculous result is the 1/4 frequency
                          for "Maria". It means that out of the 100,000 people, 25,000 were
                          called Maria. Or that every second woman was called Maria. And since
                          they call the wind Maria, that's a little bit too much wind.

                          So I doubt we'll be able to figure out this "600 to 1" claim without
                          a serious publication.

                          Ariel.

                          [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                          ---
                          Ariel L. Szczupak
                          AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                          POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
                          Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                          ane.als@...






                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • nancy in chicago
                          ... From: Doug Weller much missing The film producers have tested the DNA of one of the Mary s and discovered it is not maternally
                          Message 12 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                            ---------- Original Message-----------
                            From: Doug Weller <dweller@...>

                            much missing

                            The film producers have tested the DNA of one of the Mary's and
                            discovered it is not maternally related to Jesus' DNA.

                            ------- End of Original Message-------

                            Umm... what Jesus do they have DNA from?  Could they tell which one of the bones was actually Jesus in the ossuary? 

                            Otherwise, all that they are saying is that Mary married into the family -- which I would think more likely than having a grown daughter in the ossuary.

                            Personally, having the DNA of THE Jesus of Nazareth is probably as likely as having the DNA of THE Harry Potter (and the latter is impossible).

                            Nancy Jones
                            Interested Amateur

                            "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's toodark
                            to read."  Groucho Marx




                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Doug Weller
                            Have people been following this blog? http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/ and
                            Message 13 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                              Have people been following this blog?
                              http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/
                              and
                              http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/02/jesus-tomb-titanic-talpiot-tomb-theory.html

                              Doug Weller
                              --
                              Doug Weller Moderator, sci.archaeology.moderated
                              Director and Moderator The Hall of Ma'at http://www.thehallofmaat.com
                              Doug and Helen's Dogs: http://www.dougandhelen.com
                              Doug's Archaeology Site: http://www.ramtops.co.uk
                            • Jim West
                              If they have they should know a couple of things about Ben. First, he is among the very few who supported and still supports the authenticity of the James
                              Message 14 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                                If they have they should know a couple of things about Ben. First, he
                                is among the very few who supported and still supports the authenticity
                                of the James Ossuary inscription. Second, the very persons involved in
                                the Talpiot Tomb program were involved with him when he peddled the
                                James Ossuary.

                                In other words- he's all for the James Ossuary (with its questionable
                                inscription) and he's all against the latest "big news". He is, in
                                other words, hardly a disinterested bystander.


                                Doug Weller wrote:
                                > Have people been following this blog?
                                > http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/
                                > and
                                > http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/02/jesus-tomb-titanic-talpiot-tomb-theory.html
                                >
                                > Doug Weller

                                --
                                Jim West, ThD

                                http://drjewest.googlepages.com/ -- Biblical Studies Resources
                                http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog
                              • Ariel L. Szczupak
                                ... For a population of 25,000 the numbers are 6,780,056,542.97 Jesus groups out of 16,272,135,703,118,800 possible 4-person combinations. Still ridiculous.
                                Message 15 of 21 , Mar 2, 2007
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                                  At 07:33 PM 3/2/2007, Joe Zias wrote:

                                  >The math/probability is a real snow job, e.g for starters pop. of
                                  >Jrsm ca 30 AD was about 50,000 at the most and a good percentage of
                                  >those were not even Jewish.

                                  For a population of 25,000 the numbers are 6,780,056,542.97 "Jesus
                                  groups" out of 16,272,135,703,118,800 possible 4-person combinations.

                                  Still ridiculous.

                                  >They up the ante to 100,000 as if everyone was Jewish and rig the
                                  >math game as they have all along. don't buy into it. They have
                                  >rigged the 'game' from the beginning, their geneaolgy chart is a
                                  >good example of ignoring the fact that the tomb is an extended
                                  >family running up to 100 yrs from 30 BC to 70 AD.

                                  Of course I don't buy into it. The official web site linking the
                                  pirates' skull-and-bones flag to the tomb was a "subtle" hint as to
                                  how serious this was.

                                  But I focus on the statistics for a reason.

                                  In statistics the issues are much simpler than in the interpretation
                                  of archeological evidence or of ancient texts. That's why it was so
                                  simple, once I had some calculations to work with, to reduce their
                                  claims to absurdity.

                                  But the real reason is that we, humans, have a blind spot when it
                                  comes to assessing odds.

                                  Our brains can do amazing things. Practically everyone can crumple a
                                  page of paper into a very irregular shape and throw it into a waste
                                  basket 3 feet away - a trajectory that is expressed in complex
                                  aerodynamic equations. But when it comes to odds, our brains don't
                                  have that ability. If we had there would be no casinos. I know,
                                  through learning & training, to asses odds. At the same time when I
                                  talked last week to a high school classmate and found out that the
                                  names of two of his daughters are the same as my wife's and my
                                  youngest daughter's I had this "what an amazing coincidence" internal
                                  sensation. Even though I fully realized that there's nothing
                                  surprising since these are very common names, another part of me was
                                  saying "wow!"

                                  Most people will be able to follow the pro/con archeological and
                                  historical argumentation, if they wish to, but the "600 to 1" claim
                                  takes advantage of a cognitive blind spot.

                                  Is that wrong? Depends what you do with it. Magicians take advantage
                                  of our blind spots all the time, and so do con artists. Questions is
                                  where are Jacobivici et al on this scale.

                                  When Uri Geler claims supernatural powers instead of trickery and
                                  slight of hand, he is being dishonest, but he still presents his act
                                  as entertainment. Dan Brown wrote a novel, not a scientific paper.
                                  Swift claimed in "Gulliver's Travel" that the story is true, but he
                                  didn't present it to his generation's Discovery Channel, the
                                  Geographical Society, but published it as a novel. In all such cases
                                  people know from the context they are about to be entertained, not
                                  about to learn truths about reality.

                                  Jacobivici, on the other hand, presents his "masterpiece" in another
                                  context, a "this is real" context. For me the money he makes is not
                                  honest wages for honest entertainment but the dishonest proceeds of a
                                  con job. And it's not a con job that takes advantage of someone's
                                  moral defects (greed etc), but one that takes advantage of this
                                  statistical blind spot, like conning a blind man into buying a
                                  "beautiful" picture. A dirty con.

                                  And when I say "Jecobivici et al" I include everyone making money out
                                  of this pseudo-scientific circus. That includes every reporter that
                                  makes in the back of his mind a "it's a good story so I will not
                                  check if it's just supermarket tabloid material" decision. And
                                  specifically it includes the Discovery Channel. If they air it they
                                  are, to me, con artists.

                                  May they all be blessed in getting the same respect they give to others.



                                  Ariel.

                                  [100% bona fide dilettante ... delecto ergo sum!]

                                  ---
                                  Ariel L. Szczupak
                                  AMIS-JLM (Ricercar Ltd.)
                                  POB 4707, Jerusalem, Israel 91401
                                  Phone: +972-2-5619660 Fax: +972-2-5634203
                                  ane.als@...
                                • Schmuel
                                  Hi Folks, I want to thank Doug for this analysis he gave the forum a few days ago. If there is any follow-up, or if it has been posted on a blog, please let us
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Mar 7, 2007
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                                    Hi Folks,

                                    I want to thank Doug for this analysis he gave the forum a few days ago.
                                    If there is any follow-up, or if it has been posted on a blog, please let us know.
                                    The only other interesting discussion of the statistics that I have seen
                                    was by Joe D'Mello and was on the NTGateway blog of Mark Goodacre.
                                    While they are in some senses complementary I believe that Doug has done
                                    the best overall job of really trying to wrestle directly with the statistical issues,
                                    writing with a real savvy and flair and comprehension. D'Mello emphasized more
                                    the *interpretation* of the existing numbers given by the film makers rather than trying
                                    to find a proper and accurate *formulation*. And the latter is ultimately far more important.

                                    The fly in the ointment of much of the discussion (and was never even remotely
                                    discussed in all the brouhaha) is the difficulty of what is sometimes called "post facto
                                    probability" calculations. This pops up in all sorts of venues and defining the proper
                                    input parameters is very dicey since there already is a bullesye target (what actually
                                    happened) staring you in the face. So it is very difficult to go back to *before* what
                                    happened.. happened.. and develop the proper formulations and questions that give
                                    a sound resultant calculation number.

                                    To give an example of a post facto probability (one that was never really
                                    done, afaik) in the public arena that actually made a lot of sense and could
                                    have well-defined input .. when Hillary made her $100g on futures trading
                                    one might be able to go back and say .. given a-b-c .. what is the likelihood
                                    that she could gain that amount by *luck* as opposed to a little "help" from
                                    the person entering the profits and loses (ie. perhaps doing a little winnowing
                                    out of losses to help her accrue gains.)

                                    However the variables in the ossuary situation are a lot more difficult. I will
                                    give an example of one. Jose is an extraordinary name in one sense, in that
                                    it did not show up on ossuaries much. On the other hand it is all over the
                                    Talmud and other ancient Hebraic realms and was apparently simply much like
                                    "Joe" is today to Joseph, a shorthand, a nickname. John Gill discusses this as well.
                                    And most graves today do not have a Joe, they have Joseph. So if you hit a grave site
                                    today with "Joe" how easy would it be for you to figure out what Joseph or Joe was
                                    involved ?.. (answer, very difficult .. especially as most people with one name are
                                    sometimes called the other).

                                    Difficulties like this are all over the ossuary calculations.

                                    Enough for now. Thanks, Doug.

                                    Shalom,
                                    Steven Avery
                                    Queens, NY
                                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Messianic_Apologetic


                                    Doug Weller -
                                    >I just found this statistical analysis - like the other one, it assumes the names are correct.
                                    >I have computed that the probability of the tomb in the Talpiot
                                    >district of Jerusalem being the family tomb of the Jesus of Nazareth
                                    >is at least 12 to 1 *against*. Apparently the makers of the movie
                                    >calculated the probability that more than one family living in ancient
                                    >Jerusalem would produce a cluster of names like the ones discovered in
                                    >the tomb in the Talpiot district of Jerusalem, and found that this
                                    >probability is very small and that therefore this must be the tomb of
                                    >Jesus of Nazareth's family. But I think they asked the wrong question.
                                    >The right question is: How many families living in ancient Jerusalem
                                    >would produce a cluster of names in a tomb that would appear to be as
                                    >similar to the names in Jesus' family as the cluster of names actually
                                    >found? And the answer is that more than 12 families would have
                                    >produced such remarkable cluster of names in a tomb.
                                    >
                                    >Here is how I computed this number. According to the gospels Jesus'
                                    >family consisted of Joseph and Mary, Jesus, and four male brothers of
                                    >Jesus named James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (besides unnamed female
                                    >siblings). We also know the approximate frequency of names in ancient
                                    >Palestine. According to
                                    >http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2007/02/jesus-tomb-titanic-talpiot-tomb-theory.html
                                    >
                                    >these are: 9.2%, 8.3%, 6.2% and 3.8% for Simon, Joseph, Judas and
                                    >Jesus respectively for male names, and Mary's name frequency is a
                                    >whooping 21.3% for female names. The tomb discovered in Talpiot
                                    >contained 10 ossuaries, of which 6 carried inscriptions. The relevant
                                    >inscriptions here are "Jesus son of Joseph", "Mary", "Mary", and
                                    >"Joseph". These inscriptions were in different languages and used
                                    >different forms for these names, but that's about it. (see:
                                    >http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070228135009.htm ) I read
                                    >somewhere that first century Jerusalem had about 50,000 inhabitants.
                                    >As the period in question spanned various generations I used a
                                    >population of 10,000 families.
                                    >
                                    >I wrote a computer program simulation that actually randomly produced
                                    >10,000 families of 10 members each (keeping the right name
                                    >frequencies) and then proceeded to compute the following average
                                    >numbers:
                                    >
                                    >111 families would have a Jesus son of Joseph. I understand that in
                                    >fact other ossuaries have been found with the inscription "Jesus son
                                    >of Joseph".
                                    >
                                    >75 families would moreover have at least one Mary.
                                    >
                                    >71 families would moreover have one more name that belongs to Jesus'
                                    >family, be it Joseph, Simon or Judas, or maybe a second Mary
                                    >(supposedly Mary Magdalene).
                                    >
                                    >43 families would have two more such names. One of such clusters might
                                    >be: [Jesus son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Joseph], as is the one
                                    >discovered in the Talpiot tomb.
                                    >
                                    >And 16 families would have three more such names. Here is in detail
                                    >the very first family case my simulation produced: An unnamed (i.e.
                                    >with no relevant names) couple have three children: a daughter Mary, a
                                    >son Joseph, and an unnamed second daughter. Their daughter Mary
                                    >marries Simon and produces an unnamed daughter. Their son Joseph
                                    >marries an unnamed wife and produces two children, Jesus and Mary.
                                    >Voila: A family cluster of 10 whose tomb might have had inscriptions
                                    >"Jesus son of Joseph", "Mary", "Joseph", "Mary", and "Simon" - all
                                    >names related to the circle of Jesus of Nazareth, but this is not
                                    >Jesus Christ's family. Nevertheless this cluster would appear to be
                                    >even more statistically conspicuous than the one discovered in the
                                    >Talpiot tomb.
                                    >
                                    >The film producers have tested the DNA of one of the Mary's and
                                    >discovered it is not maternally related to Jesus' DNA. I compute that
                                    >adding this condition we still get 12 families. Here is the very first
                                    >such case my simulation produced: A Jesus (whose father was named
                                    >Joseph) marries a Mary and has 4 children: Simon, Jesus, and two more unnamed ones. Their son Simon marries a second Mary but have no children that would be buried in the family tomb. One unnamed daughter marries Joseph and has a daughter Mary. That's the second Mary who is also not maternally related to "Jesus son of Joseph". - So, any of these 12 families might have produced tomb even more conspicuous than the one found, but at most one of these families could be Jesus'. Hence the chance of the Talpiot tomb being Jesus is less than 1/12.
                                    >
                                    >Further: Taking into account that Jesus' family was not from
                                    >Jerusalem, that his family was too poor to afford a family tomb, that
                                    >if Jesus' bones were put in an ossuary one would expect the ossuary
                                    >itself or the inscription on it to be more special in some way, and
                                    >that if Jesus' body was buried in a tomb to decompose and then put in
                                    >an ossuary then probably somebody would have found out back then when
                                    >so much was made of Jesus' bodily ascension to heaven - taking all
                                    >that into account the probability of the Talpiot tomb being of Jesus
                                    >is much less than 12 to 1 against. Finally, if the movie producers
                                    >really believed that this was Jesus' tomb one would expect that they
                                    >would have asked neutral professional archeologists to evaluate their
                                    >evidence or argumentation - which they haven't done.
                                    >
                                    >There is some more arguments, such as the "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus" ossuary (see:
                                    >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ossuary )
                                    >having come from this same tomb, but the archaeologist who first
                                    >studied the tomb flatly denies it (see:
                                    >http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1171894527185&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull )
                                    >and the archeological report on the Talpiot tomb counts six ossuaries
                                    >with inscriptions, all accounted for (go to
                                    >http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/tomb/explore/explore.html
                                    >and
                                    >click on "Enter the Tomb", then on "Download Documents" and then on
                                    >"Download PDF").
                                    >
                                    >I did the above computations in a hurry and it's possible that I have
                                    >committed some mistake. If you send me an email to
                                    >dianelos@... I will gladly send you a copy of the program I
                                    >wrote, so that you can check it yourself. It's written in Pascal, and
                                    >it's a simple 150 lines program that any programmer can read.
                                    >
                                    >Doug Weller
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