Posted: Nov 20, 2011 10:49 pm
by Byron
Link to paper here, pdf here.

I'm deeply skeptical that logic, formal or informal, is applicable to determining historicity. Bayes' theorem gives a formula, and judgment calls aren't formulaic. Carrier's right to say that historical assessments of probability are informal, and I don't see a problem with that, as the assessment of probability can stand or fall on its use of the evidence. There's no mystery here: if one argument can be shown to have applied the evidence more accurately than another, then probability is on its side.

And as usual with Carrier, it's all about religion: historiography is a means to an end. There's a potentially fascinating discussion to be had here, but I fear that Carrier is plugging this line merely to wipe out the historical Jesus: just as his opposite number, William Lane Craig, uses Bayes' to prop up Jesus' corpse. Both are looking for formal objectivity where it's unlikely to be found.