Re: Improbable Probability Statements

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri May 23 1997 - 07:33:26 EDT

Clayton Bartholomew wrote:

>Probability statements don't become useless simply because
>indeterminacy happens. Language is not chaos. But the kind of
>probability argumentation used by 19th century science is going to
>draw some smiles of disbelief at this stage of the game.

If I recall my history, modern statistics did not originate until this
century, and was extremely controversial for many years. Most New Testament
scholarship *is* based on 19th century scholarship, and I doubt that most NT
scholars are forced to take much probability and statistics, so it shouldn't
be too surprising that modern statistics is not the basis for NT
scholarship. That said, a good statistician can tear apart most
probabilistic argumentation in any newspaper, and a group of statisticians
who studied JAMA articles (Journal of the American Medical Association)
concluded that less than 50% drew statistically valid conclusions.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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