Appearing in London

It’s official! I will be speaking on Bayes’ Theorem and Proving History in London this November 16 (Friday, 2012) and in Oxford the day before (Thursday the 15th). Although the latter may be restricted to students and faculty, the former is open to the general public. That event is sponsored by the British Humanist Association and CFI London (details here). You must buy a ticket to attend, and you might want to do that well in advance, just in case (see the previous link).

That will be at the Stamford Street Lecture Theatre in the Franklin Wilkins Building of the Waterloo Campus at King’s College London (127 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NQ). Nearest tube station is Waterloo.

The talk will be “Bayes’ Theorem and Historical Reasoning: How Historical Methods Can Be Improved and Why They Need to Be,” starting in London at 7:30pm (you’ll want to arrive earlier) and going until late, with Q&A. I will probably not be able to sell any books (doing sales overseas without a local vendor is complicated), but if you bring any you’ve already bought I’ll sign them. And you can always scare up interest by ordering Proving History from a nearby bookstore a few weeks in advance (if they get a bunch of those orders they might wonder what’s going on and that might be fun), rather than just going through Amazon UK (although that’s always easier). I’ve suggested to the sponsors that they might procure some stock to sell at the event, but I am assuming logistics will prevent that.

At Oxford the day before I will be discussing the same subject as the guest speaker for the traditional Doug’s Lunch at Balliol College. I have no further details than what appears on their calendar (and that will be fleshed out more I expect as the date nears). Generally, if you’re at Oxford, you know what that is and how to get in (or how to find out). If not, assume you can’t. It’s mainly for students and faculty.


  1. says

    I hope you will use this opportunity to give “The Gospel of Jesus’ wife” a good rubber truncheoning with Baye’s theory.

    Bayes’s theory surely made it a forgery, even before the spelling mistake was discovered!

    Prob (only word mentioned was “wife”)
    Prob (other words copied were exactly in Gospel of Thomas) etc. etc.

    • says

      That wasn’t true until recently. There were improbabilities also on the forgery hypothesis (forgers would more likely have attempted Greek to market the scrap as earlier; would more likely have made the text clear rather than ambiguous; the forgery is in most respects physically excellent; etc.). And the fact that it had words shared by GThom is not sufficient because of the danger of the multiple comparisons fallacy (of all Coptic texts one could find such a match with given such a small scrap, what are the odds one will match by accident? Probably not as low as you think). However, a new analysis just came out that shows features that are extremely improbable on any other hypothesis but forgery (defenders of authenticity have not yet responded to that evidence, however; nor have the chemical tests come back; but I think the odds of authenticity are pretty low at this point). I plan to blog on that later this week.