Posted:

**Feb 02, 2012 12:39 am**proudfootz wrote:

Part of his thesis is that all valid reasoning can be stated in Bayesian terms.

If that is correct, then it's true junking Bayes' Theorem is junking valid reasoning.

Carrier is suggesting making use of this powerful tool to help historians avoid the common mistakes scholars have noticed.

So what's 'new' is using a template of valid reasoning instead of the muddle in place now.

Show, don't tell. I've already shown you how Carrier's paper

(a) fails to illustrate the use of Bayesian reasoning to justify any propositions that aren't trivially obvious anyway

(b) makes liberal use of precisely the vague and subjective approaches he purports to criticise.

It would appear you have no answer.

Mus Ponticus wrote:If you take up a book on the HJ, would you think it absurd if the author, instead of saying "probably true", "very probably true" and "almost certainly true", used numbers instead? E.g. "70% probability of being true", "80% probability of being true" and "90% probability of being true"?

I concur with m'learned friend. That would indeed be absurd. If you want to be taken seriously when you say that something is 90% probable you need to be able to show your working. 90% is roughly the probability that 9 people chosen at random will all have different birthdays. That's a fact. Using the numbers if you can't deliver the goods is just trying to look objective by disguising what you're doing as probability. You might as well try to weigh the evidence in kilograms. Seems that's what Carrier's all about here.