Bayesianism is an eternalism

This page is unfinished. It may be a mere placeholder in the book outline. Or, the text below (if any) may be a summary, or a discussion of what the page will say, or a partial or rough draft.

Bayesianism is a rationalist ideology that attempts to rescue eternalism’s promise of certainty, in the face of nebulosity, with probability theory. This is an instance of the continuum gambit. It is a wrong-way reduction inasmuch as it requires you to somehow assign a real number to every possible hypothesis, which is much more difficult than actually effective ways of dealing with uncertainty.

It is widely noted that Bayesianism operates as a quasi-religious cult. This is not just my personal hobby-horse.

Debunking Bayesianism is a complex, technical subject. I’ve refuted one of its specific mistaken claims in “Probability theory does not extend logic.” I’ve made some more general, off-hand, preliminary remarks here and in “How to think real good.”

To deflect some classes of possible objections from Bayesians:

  • I will not take any position on the truth of Bayesian vs. frequentist metaphysics.
  • I will not take any position on the usefulness of Bayesian vs. frequentist statistical methods.
  • I will not argue that Bayesian methods are not sometimes useful in practice.

None of those are relevant. The point, rather, is that Bayesianism promises meta-certainty, but cannot deliver.

I cover the failures of Bayesianism in detail in Part One of In The Cells of the Eggplant. As of the most recent time I updated this page, only one relevant chapter of that has been published, “The probability of green cheese.”