Interpreter Peer Reviewed

Interpreter Peer Reviewed

Monday, September 7, 2015

More censorship at the Interpreter

Just so you know, if you post a response to the Interpreter, the censor there may decide to 1) not post it and 2) forward it to whomever he wants.

Yesterday I posted a comment on Matt Roper's response to another comment on the Interpreter's web page. Among other things, Roper wrote "Jonathan claims a lot of things." Instead of allowing my comment to go through, the Interpreter censor took the liberty of forwarding my response directly to Matt.

I have previously offered to collaborate with Matt several times. He didn't even reply to my last email. But the Interpreter's censor takes it upon himself to send my comment to Matt without telling me ahead of time or asking for my permission.

I think it's important for the Interpreter's readers to know the background behind the 30,000 + words of Roper's they have already published about my book.

Here is the comment the Interpreter censored:

Hi Matt. I appreciate the interest you've taken in my book. 

I'm glad to see you're finally interested in correcting your original paper on this topic. That's all I asked when I first approached you 7 months ago.

As I told you the first time we met, I would much rather cite your work with approval than have to continue to point out the defects in it. Although the process you've chosen to work on these issues is cumbersome and inefficient, I still hope we can work together to accumulate and analyze all the available historical data.

That said, I'm hoping you've abandoned your Black Box style of scholarship. Your stylometry work so far is not replicable because you don't disclose 1) your database or 2) your software. Black Box scholarship doesn't fly outside of the citation cartel and the shrinking number of Mesoamerican advocates (whose primary interest seems to be bias confirmation).

As you know, I had never looked into this historical issue until your article (Joseph Smith, the Times and Seasons, and Central American Ruins) made me curious about 1) why you reached a conclusion that contradicted your own data, 2) why you didn't disclose your database and software parameters, and 3) why you misled your readers with false assumptions about history (e.g., "Between February and November 1842, the only men said to be working in the printing office were Joseph Smith, John Taylor, and Wilford
Woodruff.") I was even more curious when I approached you and you refused to collaborate with me to pursue the truth.

As you also know, I had never heard of Winchester until I did the research. Because I have no history of publications or a particular theory to defend, I am agnostic regarding the authorship of these articles. I just want to know the truth, whatever it is.
In all my work, including the book, I disclose all my sources and encourage readers to see for themselves. I propose alternative inferences and hypotheses, based on the evidence, and explain all my reasoning. I look forward to your third article in which I presume you will do the same. 

I hope this time you will itemize your database and disclose your software and the parameters used so anyone an replicate your results. 

As you have admitted, stylometry is only as good as the database, the software, the the candidates tested. Originally you limited your analysis to Joseph Smith, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff. If you're limiting your current analysis to William Smith and Benjamin Winchester, you're still missing the point--which I would be happy to discuss with you any time.

All the best,

Jonathan Neville


  1. This just gets more and more interesting. Just a few days ago I posted a reply to Matt Roper's latest article, "John Bernhisel's Gift to a Prophet: Incidents of travel in Central America and the Book of Mormon." In my reply I was explaining how I was censored by them refusing to post the links to two of your posts. Then my entire reply was rejected by him (I know this because he told me so in an email) because I was responding to one of YOUR replies. Yes, it's getting interesting. Interesting indeed.

  2. I posted a comment on the Interpreter that was soft enough for them to actually publish. Effectively, I declared that Roper's stylometry was not science until he had corroboration. I asked that he reveal his data and parameters. you may see my full comment here: