Posted: Feb 02, 2012 12:04 am
by proudfootz
Mus Ponticus wrote:
Byron wrote:Yup. As I said a few pages back, values have to be assigned to questions without a dataset ... and Carrier offers no formula to make that assignment.

The sad thing is, he could write a whole book on this question without spotting this glaring error in his argument. This is precisely why academia employs the peer-review process. It's not, as Carrier seems to think, there to block his brilliant theories. It's there to save him from making an arse of himself.
This isn't a "glaring error in his argument".

Apparently all the peer review in the world hasn't stopped virtually every historian from making the 'glaring error' of arbitrarily saying "X is probable" without being able to define what the hell it's supposed to mean.

And there is no "formula" to make that assignment, there doesn't have to be.

This seems to beg the question 'what's the formula now for assigning the term 'probable' to something we know nothing about the probabilities of?'

Byron wrote:I'd think it was eccentric, but not absurd. I would however think it was absurd if they claimed that those numbers conferred any objective advantage to their subjective assessment.
"Objective" advantage? Do you mean that it would be absurd if anybody claimed that using "70%" were more objective than "probably"?

The way things seem to stand now it's a hopeless muddle of subjectivity.

At least if someone says "X is 75% probable" the reader would have a better idea of how likely the writer intends to be than "X is very probable".