My Major Objection With Bayes Theorem

I've written a lot about Bayes Theorem, where I've laid out some of its problems. [See TAG below]. The major objection I have with believers who use Bayes Theorem to evaluate ancient miracle claims of faith, is that by doing so it disingenuously gives them the appearance of proving these miracles to be true, since after all, the math shows it, stupid! This is how William Lane Craig used it in his March 2006 debate on the resurrection of Jesus with Bart Ehrman, saying,
In calculating the probability of Jesus’ resurrection, the only factor he (Ehrman) considers is the intrinsic probability of the resurrection alone [Pr(R/B)]. He just ignores all of the other factors. And that’s just mathematically fallacious. The probability of the resurrection could still be very high even though the Pr(R/B) alone is terribly low. Specifically, Dr. Ehrman just ignores the crucial factors of the probability of the naturalistic alternatives to the resurrection. [Transcript PDF, page 16]
Who can argue against the math, right? Ehrman had a bit of difficulty but he still did well in that debate.

My response would not be to show how I would calculate the odds, by disputing a number here or there (which Craig did not offer!). Doing so would give Craig the advantage of taking his mathematical claims seriously. No, I would take away his (Klingon) cloaking device, revealing what he's really doing. I'd reveal that he's doing what believers have been doing from the very beginning. They have become experts is the defense of the indefensible with the use of obfuscation, definitional apologetics and the misdirection of a magician for their magical claims. It's no different for them to use math in this same way, to deceive believers who want to be deceived. I think this strategy of mine would be more useful, which is a major point of mine. Then I'd get back to the question of which god does he presuppose that shows Jesus was raised from the grave (HINT: Surprise! It's the god of Jesus's resurrection.) I would then ask why he needs to presuppose the god of Jesus in order to argue for the resurrection of Jesus. That's special pleading at best, and circular at worst. Isn't the evidence enough? If not, isn't he admitting the evidence isn't there? I would then present the fact that most apologists agree the evidence isn't there, given that 80% of them deny the primacy of the evidence [seen as decisive case #3 HERE). Then I would rest my case! ;-)

When believers and atheists use Bayes Theorem in a back and forth debate, isn't it palpably obvious they plug in their own numbers? Garbage in garbage out, right? After doing so, isn't it obvious nothing changes? No one adjusts their numbers. No one's mind is changed! Why is that? If the quantitative analysis of Bayes is supposed to be helpful, shouldn't it? Clarification, if that's all Bayes can do, doesn't change minds. I've clarified a lot with believers. It doesn't usually change a thing. Just ask the Christians who haunt this site, like Victor Torley, David Marshall, Don Camp and Kenneth Winsmann. Bayes should do more than that, or why are we using it? One would think something billed as helpful would do what it's supposed to do. Perhaps we're to wait for years to come to see an eventual consilience, rapprochement, and even consensus among the very people using Bayes to debate the issues? While the odds of that happening aren't as low as a pig flying, they're close. ;-) They disagree about the evidence, stupid! ;-) So long as one side believes and the other disbelieves the math will not add up! Period. Forever. At some point opponents will simply abandon it and argue as they've always done about the lack of sufficient objective evidence, and why believers have not shouldered their burden of proof. They can approach the arguments much like Bayesians do, but the math just isn't helpful, and is probably even detrimental, if the goal is to change minds. Just think about it this way. Who is going to be more effective in changing minds here. Me, by arguing as I would against WLCraig above, and in these posts, or others like Richard Carrier, Matthew Ferguson or even the computer science BS college degreed Jeff Lowder?

But for now Bayes is fashionable. Christian theists have made it so. If non-believers want to be in the know, to appear important, valued, taken seriously, then we should use Bayes. That's because, as always, Christian theists frame the debate. As the minority group, non-believing intellectuals just follow suit in order to be taken seriously. Who doesn't want to be taken seriously? Being in the know has its privileges, you see. Respect. It's this thing called respect from indoctrinated brainwashed and ultimately deluded people I object to. If you seek to gain the respect of Christian theists by playing their games, who will never change their minds, then you have sacrificed your intellect. This is one of the major points I made in my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. It has received a few negative reviews from non-believing intellectuals (which I knew it would) who have done just that, because getting the respect of Christian theists can only mean one thing to them, that they're doing something right. But they are wrong! In this case and others, it means they're doing something wrong!

Which brings us back to the evidence, or the woeful lack of it. We must still debate the particulars, the evidences. Christians claim they have it. So provide it. We'll listen and respond! Allow no more gimmicks, magician's tricks, or mathematical cloaking devices. We should expose those attempts for what they really are, obfuscationism, if we as atheists want to be helpful. Using Bayes to respond in kind is not doing that! We cannot undermine this mathematical magician's trick if we use it, you see. Keep in mind the Christian theists putting forth Bayesian analyses are not our target audience. They will not be convinced by a mere tit for tat. But others can be. So undermine their attempts instead. There are reasonable people who are listening, pondering what is truly going on, looking for the evidence devoid of rhetorical bullshit masquerading as substance. Get the respect of honest believers by helping them escape out of their delusion. Isn't that what it's all about?