Probably Not – A Fine-Tuned Critique of Richard Carrier (Part 1)

It seems the internet is flooded with various misuses of Bayes’ Theorem (typically, without actual use of Bayes’ Theorem per se, but rather Bayesian inference/analysis). It proves there is a god, there isn’t a god, that the universe is fine-tuned, that it isn’t, that Jesus rose from the dead, that Jesus didn’t exist, etc. Some popular treatments are better than others, but I thought it might be nice to contrast a technical treatment in a “tier 1” science journal with even a good online treatment. Spiegel, D. S., & Turner, E. L. (2012). Bayesian analysis of the astrobiological implications of life’s early emergence on Earth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(2), 395-400.

Letters to Nature

After a brief back and forth in a comments section, I was encouraged by Dr Carrier to read his essay “Neither Life nor the Universe Appear Intelligently Designed”. I am assured that the title of this essay will be proven “with such logical certainty” that all opposing views should be wiped off the face of Earth.

Dr Richard Carrier is a “world-renowned author and speaker”. That quote comes from none other than the world-renowned author and speaker, Dr Richard Carrier. Fellow atheist Massimo Pigliucci says,

The guy writes too much, is too long winded, far too obnoxious for me to be able to withstand reading him for more than a few minutes at a time.

I know the feeling. When Carrier’s essay comes to address evolution, he recommends that we “consider only actual scholars with PhD’s in some relevant field”. One wonders why, when we come to consider the…

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