Posted:

**Jan 25, 2012 4:29 pm**proudfootz wrote:Thus Carrier points out that the guesses about what is 'more likely' must be tempered by consideration of competing hypotheses and this process may expose why the original reading cannot be regarded as 'more likely' after all.

Yes, I agree. That's common sense. I've said and you've said it. Is there anyone who would argue that consideration of competing hypotheses is not a good idea? We've said it succinctly in one sentence, without recourse to equations. It's also worth noting that Carrier has gone to some trouble to make the equations look more complex than they actually are. Google Bayes' Theorem and get yourself a comparison. So why scatter all these deliberately obscurantist equations around in order to state the blindingly obvious? I don't think it takes mind reading to conclude that he's trying to confer on his anti-HJ conclusions the credibility of mathematical rigour. And at the top of the thread, you bought it.

proudfootz wrote:Good to see someone making an effort to help make the assumptions of the 'judgement calls' of historians more explicit and more amenable to logical analysis.

Except in this case it's a historian discussing historical method.

A historian deploying deliberate sophistry. Look, there are good arguments to be made about looking deeper than the obvious interpretation of Brother of the Lord and the standard application of the criterion of embarrassment. That case isn't helped by bullshit like this.

proudfootz wrote:logical bob wrote:The bigger point is that history doesn't handle probabilities in a mathematical way and has never claimed to do so.

This may be true - but then we're left with the constant refrain of 'more likely' or 'more probable' as used in arguments about history merely being sounds without much meaning if we're to be left in the dark about how much more likely or probable.

History is subjective. There's no getting away from that. It might be nice if we could settle the HJ question with a calculator, but we can't. Deal with it.