Hypothesis: Since Bayes Theorem Cannot Help Us It Should be Abandoned

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Hypothesis: Since Bayes Theorem (i.e., the math, the equation, the formula) cannot help bring us to a consensus concerning something accepted on faith, or assess specific miracles and theistic based religions, and because it is ripe for abuse in the hands of Christian apologists who dress up their delusion with undeserved respectability, it should be abandoned for better alternative methods, by people who really want to know the truth.
This is not a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There is no miracle baby to be found in the dirty bathwater. Bayes is used by people in this debate who wish to look superior than others. It's a rite of passage into a specific club of intellectuals who like the status of being considered above the rest of us. But it solves nothing, clarifies nothing, and will be thrust into the dustbin of elite faddishness as one after another intellectual wannabe comes up with their own calculations without reaching a consensus between believers and non-believers on the inputs or the resulting probabilities. As philosopher Godfrey-Smith put it, “The probabilities” in Bayes’ Theorem “that are more controversial are the prior probabilities of hypotheses, like P(h).” He asks, “What could this number possibly be measuring?” He says, we cannot “make sense of prior probabilities” [Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (University of Chicago Press, 2003), p. 205]. He is dead on in the area I'm arguing, faith-based claims of virgin birthed deities and resurrections from the dead. And while I'm at it, gods themselves, who are supposed to exponentially increase the prior probabilities.

Bayes is a mathematical wasteland when applies to these issues. The only merit it offers is the discussion of the evidence and the ensuing arguments in defense of the inputs, which could be done without the math. So atheist apologists who argue for the use of Bayes Theorem in an area with no promise or hope of a consensus, are merely arguing for their own special status in these debates, and dividing people unnecessarily between Bayes users and non-Bayes users. The most extreme case of this is atheist apologist Richard Carrier, who thinks the rest of us are ignorant, stupid, and irrational to disagree. This only makes him feel relevant by arguing for his own irrelevancy. This is not to throw a bone at Christian apologists. I think Carrier is brilliant and has already dealt some significant death blows to the Christian faith. But on this issue his brilliancy, and undeserved superior ego, has led him to defend an irrelevant wasteland, a dead end, one that has no promise of accomplishing or solving anything.

The better tools? Science; requiring sufficient collaborative objective evidence commensurate with the type of claim; requiring claimants to shoulder the burden of proof; arguing from inference to the best explanation; using the standard of the Outsider Test for Faith; ridicule (after all, we know faith-based arguments are special pleading all the way down), and more. Carrier will respond just as believers do when it comes to their faith-based doctrines, by forcing these tools into the grid of Bayes Theorem and calling me a doofus another dozen times or more. So let's see this in practice, a friend comes up to you and says his wife gave birth to a deity. You say show me some objective evidence. We don't need Bayes at all there, do you see? I can understand why Bayesian reasoning without the math is much better when it comes to more complicated issues, but at rock bottom it's all about the evidence, just as apologist Vincent Torley was convinced by it, even though he had previously done his own Bayesian calculations. I see no reason why hammering home the lack of objective evidence won't work as well, or better than using Bayesian math. Bayes is probably worse off in terms of convincing others, for the only people who would slough through it are far less likely to be convinced by it. I've written a book on why responding to fundamentalist arguments in kind gives their beliefs a certain undeserved respectability. So my arguments against the use of Bayes are rooted there, but not found exclusively there. For as you can see I have other arguments that Bayes just doesn't help us (i.e., the math, the equation, the formula). [See Tag for more]