Posted: Feb 02, 2012 12:17 am
by Byron
proudfootz wrote: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.

I'm reminded of the courtroom farce in the Australian drama Joh's Jury, where a biased holdout juror baffles both judge and jury by wasting the court's time with demands for "clarification" on reams of plain-English phrases.

"Probable" in this context means "in my subjective judgment, this conclusion is more likely than not." There's no mystery to it. It's overturned not by abstracted theorizing, but by engaging with the evidence and showing where the assessment has gone awry.