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Monday, November 19, 2012

One of the very frew Chrsitians to have the guts to speak up

Highrigger is just about the first Chrsitain to speak up for me on CARM since the CADRE people left back in 2004. he backs me statments about ECREP.

Highrigger post 20
I am trained in mathmatics and I agre with Bayes Theorem as far as it goes. But it does not go so far as to be applied to spritual issues. How does Mathmatics have anything to do with love or faith, passions of the heart?

Metacrock is right. It is a dumb idea. The Theorem is totally misapplied.

I think I must have discovered some kind of atheist liturgy or something. They are acting like I murdered someone. It's  a major sin to say ECREE is not true. On my boards atheist oppent (but a friend) Quantum Troll actually takes me side on this one. He's a scientist. He's a Ph.D. candidate in nuero biology at a major university in Europe.

e: Bayes' Theorem

Postby QuantumTroll on Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:08 am
I'm going to start by taking Metacrock's side here, for once. As a working numerical scientist, I feel like I have a bit of weight to throw around on this subject, too ;)

I think Metacrock is right in that the claim "ECREE" with regards to the existence of God has little or nothing to do with Bayes' Theorem. The reason for this is actually clear when you look at the examples in this thread, cocaine use and cancer. If you give a random US citizen a cocaine test, the low incidence of cocaine use means that you'll get a lot of false positives. Cocaine use is an extraordinary claim, and you need a very accurate test (or several tests) in order to convincingly show cocaine use. If you go to a crackhouse, you'll probably be able to tell pretty reliably who is high at the moment without any drug test. Similarly, any particular cancer diagnosis is a rare and extraordinary claim, and the tests have limited power. But if one test is positive, you're in a cancer crackhouse, and more testing will be much more reliable. Bottom line: You need to know the prior odds of an outcome to know the reliability of a test.

We don't know the prior odds of the existence of God. We cannot apply Bayes' Theorem on this question, because we don't have any data about the existence of God, period. I think this is the heart of Metacrock's point, and in this he is correct.

A caveat: I think the existence of God is an extraordinary claim, and my intuition says that such claims require extra convincing evidence. I agree with ECREE with regards to the existence of God, but will not use Bayes' Theorem as support for this opinion.

Finally, there's the whole miracles issue, too. Here, we do know the prior odds of spontaneous recovery from various illnesses, or we can at least calculate a reliable estimate. Therefore, when someone prays and is healed, we can apply Bayes' Theorem and we do have a mathematical basis for ECREE in this context. Every argument for miracles (at Lourdes or elsewhere) that I've seen has failed to address this fundamental problem. Can Metacrock dig up a counterexample?
my response:

Re: Bayes' Theorem

Postby Metacrock on Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:33 am
I appreciate your comments a great deal man. That's super and actually talking my side, wow, mark n the wall! :D

I agree with what you say. The only thing I would add is that many atheists, not you of cousre, or Fleet, but those who are less well immersed in scinece make it seem as though belief in god is extraordinary in the sense of being cray, way out, they leave the impression that "extraordinary" means "freaky and silly and way out."

Obviously it doesn't mean that. It means different the average. soemthing like that. yet the average in terms of belief for humans is to believe in some form of deity or God.

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