Victor Reppert On Priors, Biases and Probabilities

Victor Reppert recently said:
It all depends on your priors. I think an argument can be good even when it isn't strong enough such that it ought to convince any unbiased person. An argument might provide some evidence for its conclusion, which might be sufficient or insufficient given someone's personal prior probabilities....The trouble with "unbiased persons" is that you have to go through town with a lantern in broad daylight to find one. Unless, of course, you find the ones who agree with me! :) LINK.
In one sense I agree with Vic. We all have priors, that is, background knowledge, the information we have accumulated prior to encountering a new argument. We also have biases. We are prone to so many cognitive biases it's astounding. We don't reason that well because of them. When facing the fact of biases most people will even say they are not affected by them it's so bad. So I agree there are arguments that are good ones even though they cannot convince others. The problem is what Vic thinks this proves. The real problem unaddressed by him is how we can best solve this problem when it comes to debates about his evangelical faith.

Vic reasonably admits we have priors, biases, and that there are good arguments even though they don't convince others. What he says is obviously true. No argument here. Tell us something we don't know next time Vic. It says absolutely nothing about his evangelical faith though. It shows awareness of the problems that's all. By admitting these things are problems Vic tries to appear intellectually respectable. By doing so, it lets others think he must have good reasons to overcome these problems. But he offers no solutions here. In fairness, he did offer some thoughts on these matters in the comments of these two links. Read them for yourselves and see if there is any clarity or willingness to admit he offers no solution.

I however, have offered a solution, best seen in my book The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion is True. As far as I know Vic has not commented on it. Has he read it?

Nor has Vic addressed what I had written previously:
A lot is made by Christian philosophers about their background "priors" when assessing the truth of Christian theism. Their claim is that with their particular "priors" they are warranted in concluding from those "priors" the evidence leads them to their faith. My claim is that they have the cart before the horse, big time, bad time.

For if the Christian "priors" are truly "priors" then they need to be there "prior."

So here you are wondering whether Christian theism is true. You were probably raised to believe in this Christian culture but now as the adult you have become you want to examine the case for yourself.

So when doing so what are your "priors" at that point? That is, what do you know and when? When do you place which "priors" into your bag of "priors"?

Name them in order to the best of your ability. And tell me how you arrived at them without using any subsequent ones.

Now for the punch, Hear ye, O' hear ye!

No amount of philosophical thinking alone will produce the conclusion that any event actually took place in the past, much less a miraculous resurrection. So on the one hand, in order to establish the Christian faith believers must use historical evidence at every juncture. But on the other hand, in order to see that evidence as evidence we need to have good reasons to do so. Where do those reasons come from? Not from any “background knowledge” or “priors” of theirs. They cannot use their so-called “background knowledge” or their “priors” to help determine whether the evidence shows Jesus arose from the dead until they can first show that he did. Christians must independently establish that the resurrection took place in history before such a belief can be placed into their bag of "priors."

We can even grant the existence of Yahweh or a creator god and the possibility of miracles and it changes nothing. For what needs to be shown is that Yahweh did such a miracle here in this particular case and the historical tools we have available to assess whether he did are inadequate for the task.

This is both obvious and non-controversial. For the very people in charge of the writing and maintenance of the OT faith, the Jews, believed in Yahweh and miracles and yet did not believe in Jesus--to this day. Yes there are pockets of Jews who do believe, but statistically not many of them at all. LINK
Yet Vic continues talking about "priors." As I said in a previous post, concerning the so-called evidence for the resurrection:
He [Vic] continues talking about his "priors," that he is stuck with them. But ask him to reason to these priors and he cannot do it without punting to faith. Where do they come from them? And how are his "priors" ranked in a logical or chronological order? He objects to a default position, the position of skepticism, but why? Shouldn't we approach wild and fanciful stories like these coming from the ancient superstitious past with even more skepticism than we would approach similar kinds of stories in today's modern world? After all we were not there. Almost all of our questions go unanswered. We cannot interrogate these ancient texts, their authors, nor the people who they claim testify of such things. What we know is that an utterly overwhelming number of Jews who believed in Reppert's "priors"--that Yahweh exists, does miracles, and inspired the Old Testament--did not believe these claims, and they were there! That's why Christianity had to leave Jewish soil to seek converts in the Greco-Roman world, who could not check the facts for themselves. So why should we believe? I see no reason to do so.

What would he say is the method for determining which culturally accepted "priors" take precedence over other culturally accepted "priors" since they almost certainly determine what extraordinary claims people accept?LINK.
When it comes to assessing the probabilities there is a recent astounding book on them written by David J. Hand, an emeritus professor of mathematics and former president of the Royal Statistical Society, The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day. Will Vic read it? I think he should. In fact, I have suggested dozens of books for him to read but his priors have always prohibited him from doing so since he has other interests, and/or his biases keep him from doing so. Is that reasonable? I think not.

For the record, I see absolutely no probability to speak of when it comes to a virgin who had a baby in the ancient superstitious past, or the resurrection of a false prophet from the dead, or his ascension into the sky from which it was promised he would come again in the generation he was crucified, and that I must believe he was/is the incarnate Son of God or suffer an eternal conscious torment in hell if I don't believe the 2nd-3rd-4th removed conflicting testimonies of people I cannot cross-examine, as we find them finally published in 4th century manuscripts chosen out the many other Christian manuscripts written in those years, which have been shown to be doctored up. And for the record I see absolutely no probability to faith. Adults, reasonable adults, think exclusively in terms of the probabilities. When adults think deeply enough about what this means they will finally get it. Faith is irrational. It has no epistemic merit at all.