Category Archive: mathematics

Nov 26 2013

Innumeracy: A Fault to Fix

Innumeracy is more of a threat than scientific illiteracy. And I want to illustrate this today.

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Oct 04 2013

Now You Can Wear Even More Bayes’ Theorem!

Picture of women's cap-T shirt with Odds Form Bayesian graphic across the chest. White shirt with black shoulders and neckline.

Did you say Odds Form? Shirt? Car Flag? Panties? Hell yeah. I just finished loading my old Cafe Press store with tons of different shirts and other odds and ends featuring my Bayesian graphic, which uses imaginative rather than standard mathematical notation (as I reported last week, you can get jewelry with it from SurlyRamics). …

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May 23 2013

Two Bayesian Fallacies

Depiction of the long-form equation for Bayes' Theorem: the probability of a hypothesis (h) given all evidence (e) and background knowledge (b) equals the product of the probability of the hypothesis (h) given only background knowledge (b) and the probability of the evidence (e) given the hypothesis (h) and background knowledge (b), divided by the sum of that same product and the product of the probability of the hypothesis being false (not-h) given only background knowledge (b) and the probability of the evidence (e) given the hypothesis being false (not-h) and background knowledge (b).

At INR3 in Kamloops I spoke on applying Bayesian logic to the study of Jesus along with the same principles we apply to dead religions (so as to avoid the “don’t offend the Christians” reaction to controversial claims…claims that would not be controversial if Jesus was not the object of worship of billions of loud, …

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Oct 09 2012

Understanding Bayesian History

Cover of the book Proving History.

So far I know of only two critiques of my argument in Proving History that actually exhibit signs of having read the book (all other critiques can be rebutted with three words: read the book; although in all honesty, even the two critiques that engage the book can be refuted with five words: read the …

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Aug 30 2012

Bayesian Blogging


This is a request to all fans of Bayes’ Theorem out there: I’m looking for the best blogs and websites substantially devoted to discussing all things Bayesian. Of course I know about Less Wrong, the brainchild of Eliezer Yudkowsky, which often discusses Bayesian reasoning and is a fabulous website for learning about human reason, and …

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Aug 06 2012

New Bayesian Calculator

Thanks to Cam Spiers (who has produced an interesting selection of free javascript Bayesian Calculators), I have updated my own Bayesian Calculator page using the most basic of those. This might be updated again in coming months. Right now it only allows running calculations with two-digit probabilities from .01 to .99 (or 1% and 99%), …

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Jun 29 2012

The Jesus Tomb and Bayes’ Theorem


Finally, a mathematician actually gets the math right on the Jesus Tomb hypothesis. Conclusion? We have not found the tomb of Jesus. For those who already know the backstory and want to jump right to it, read Bayes’ Theorem and the “Jesus Family Tomb” by physicist Randy Ingermanson. He approached the problem like a physicist …

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Feb 22 2012

The Lame That Would Not Die!


What is The Lame? Unfortunately no one can be told what The Lame is. You have to see it for yourself. No, just kidding. It’s the claim that “Science Requires a Christian Worldview.” JT just blogged that, responding reasonably enough to a repeat of a standard Christian apologetic shibboleth (and, as he callously and shamelessly …

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Feb 08 2012

Proving History!


My new book is finally done and available for pre-order at Amazon: titled Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. Yes, that’s the one (or one of the two) that everyone has been asking me about. It’s been years in the making, and in the waiting, but we completed its academic …

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Dec 01 2011

Bayes’ Theorem: Lust for Glory!

Skepticon IV

My talk at Skepticon IV on the importance of Bayes’ Theorem to skepticism is now available on YouTube (Bayes’ Theorem: Lust for Glory!). (My slides in that on the UFO case don’t show the whole text because I had to use Darrel Ray’s computer at the last minute [thx D!] which didn’t have the right …

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