Sunday, March 30, 2014

Critique of Carrier on Bayesian Probability and History

These provide a good critique of Richard Carrier’s views on Bayes’s theorem and Bayesian probability theory as applied to historical probabilities and historical argument:
“A Mathematical Review of ‘Proving History’ by Richard Carrier,” Irreducible Complexity, September 8, 2012.

“Error in Bayes’s Theorem,” October 11, 2012.

“An Introduction to Probability Theory and Why Bayes’s Theorem is Unhelpful in History,” September 12, 2012.
Richard Carrier has a response here:
Richard Carrier, “Understanding Bayesian History,” Richard Carrier Blogs, October 9, 2012.


  1. Just an impression, but from the videos I saw I do not find Carrier convincing. Nor from a quick perusal of his defence. His critic's powerful discussion of error and error propagation is much more cogent, to me at least.
    I will seek out his debate with Ehrman.

    1. Yes, I totally agree.

      Bayesianism is just the wrong way to analyze probabilities of past events. We need epistemic probabilities for this, and these aren't objective, numeric probabilities.