A Murder of Atheists, part 2

FYI: this post has been moved here.


  1. Atheists seem so completely arbitrary when they come up with arguments against God or the resurrection or what have you. Many arguments are made based on entirely arbitrary assumptions that have no more validity then any other assumption.

  2. It is obvious from your objections to Martin's argument that you have virtually no understanding on how to apply Bayesian probability and what the results of that analysis means.

    Your first objection dramatically shows your lack of understanding. When Martin, provisionally grants the existence of some sort of God, that could, in theory, perform a miracle you get very confused about the distinction between 'possible' and 'probable'. His argument is that even given that a miracle is possible then the probability is low. Now, you can legitimately argue the his assessment of the probabilities are incorrect but that is a distinctly different argument than what you made.

    Your second objection appears on the surface to be just a restatement of your first objection - which is a demonstration of your misunderstanding of Bayesian probability.

    Your third false objection is only subtlety different on a conceptual basis than the first two. You are basically invoking a 'begging the question' fallacy. Built into your objection is the certain knowledge (which is certain only to delusional fools) that the miracle took place but nobody knows that the miracle took place - the event in question is uncertain and thus is being subjected to a probabilistic analysis. You are right if we knew the "a posteriori facts" then there would be no uncertainty and your objection might hold some weight but that is not the case here. We don't know the "a posteriori facts" so a probability assessment is completely justified.

    Your fourth and last objection is yet again, merely a restatement of your misunderstanding of what the argument was saying. To use your dice analogy, the situation is that the dice were thrown but they landed behind a screen where we can't see them. There are people that also can't see the dice that claim that 6,6,6 was the result of the throw. What the argument shows is that there is low probability for that claim. You can, if you like, argue that his assessment of the probabilities are wrong but not that his overall approach is incorrect. However, before you make such an statement, I urge you to spend quite a bit of time actually learning how Bayesian Probability Analysis works.

  3. Well maybe you could enlighten us instead of just throwing the term around as thats a weak argument in any sense to claim that someone doesn't understand it.

  4. If anyone is really interested in learning how to use Bayesian Probability then there are plenty of statistic textbooks and on-line resources that do a much better job than I could (although you need to stick with sites associated with some college because there are some pretty flaky sites out there pretending to know how to apply Bayesian analysis but really don't). It would be pretty futile for me to try and give a tutorial here.

    I also can not give a complete defense of Martin's argument because I have not read the book and I only know what he said based on what Mariano presented. And Mariano's objections are just so wrong. It is as if Martin had given a detail argument about a car's performance based on the fuel injection system, and Mariano presents objections as if the car had a carburetor. I don't know for sure that the fuel injection argument is sound or not, but I do know that the objections are based on a complete misunderstanding of how fuel injection works. It is similar here: Mariano gives a number of objections that are superficially different but, at the bottom, all reflect his basic fundamental misunderstanding.

  5. What is more, even suppose God has a good purpose for redeeming humanity, “given the many alternative ways that this could have been achieved, it is a priori unlikely that he would have chosen to do this in the manner, time, and place depicted in scripture”

    That's a great religious argument. Martin apparently knows how God would, should or could have acted! I wonder if he hears voices?

  6. I hear Martin has anal sex with black men.