Objection #1: The Problem of Old Evidence We already know that life exists, and, consequently, we know that whatever is physically required for life to exist must be actual. Any hypothesis that purports to "explain" the coincidences is explaining something we already know to be true. It is not thereby making a risky prediction that may or may not be borne out by subsequent observation. Hypotheses can be confirmed or made more probable only when they make such risky predictions, as when Halley predicted the return of Halley's comet, or Einstein predicted the bending of light by the sun's gravity. This objection can be illustrated by using Bayes's theorem, a basic theorem of probability theory. Bayesians stipulate that the posterior probability of a hypothesis, after observing result E, is equal to P(H/E). According to Bayes's theorem, P(H/E) is equal to the product of P(H), the prior probability of H, and P(E/H), the degree to which H made E probable, divided by P(E), the prior probability of E. The probability of H is increased if two conditions are met: (i) P(H) is not zero,
This is the end of the preview. Sign up
access the rest of the document.
This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.