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The Power and Danger of Bayes’ Theorem

I've noted many flaws and points of confusion in Sean Carroll's new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, 2016), but one of the strongest sections is its explanation of Bayes' Theorem. The Theorem is a quantitive way to express confidence in certain beliefs. It requires assigning credences (or probabilities) to events or statements, and then tweaking them based on new information. For example, suppose you're wondering whether a randomly... Read More

Richard Carrier’s Deeply Flawed Argument To Show God Is Unlikely

In the comment section to an earlier piece of mine on Strange Notions, Richard Carrier invited me to “interact” with him through his article “Neither Life nor the Universe Appears Intelligently Designed”, found in The End of Christianity, edited by John W. Loftus. This article is the “interaction” Carrier requested. I apologize for its delay. Introduction   Richard Carrier’s argument to show that God probably didn’t create the universe, and therefore He probably... Read More

Bayes Theorem Proves Jesus Existed (And That He Didn’t)

  In his shockingly neglected Treatise on Probability, John Maynard Keynes put his finger on the difficulty people have with probability, particularly Bayes’s Theorem: "No other formula in the alchemy of logic has exerted more astonishing powers. For it has established the existence of God from the premiss of total ignorance; and it has measured with numerical precision the probability the sun will rise tomorrow." Probability carries with it “a smack of astrology, of alchemy.”... Read More