Comment author:Coscott
12 August 2013 12:02:31AM
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11 points
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I am confused. I always thought that the "Bayes" in Bayesianism refers to the Bayesian Probability Model. Bayes' rule is a powerful theorem, but it is just one theorem, and is not what Bayesianism is all about. I understand that the video being criticized was specifically talking about Bayes' rule, but I do not think that is what Bayesianism is about at all. The Bayesian probability model basically says that probability is a degree of belief (as opposed to other models that only really work with possible possible worlds or repeatable experiments). I always thought this was the main thesis of Bayesianism was "The best language to talk about uncertainty is probability theory," which agrees perfectly with the interpretation that the name comes from the Bayesian probability model, and has nothing to do with Bayes' rule. Am I using the word in a way differently than everyone else?

What can we call this doctrine? In the old days it was known as probabilism, but this is unwieldy, and it refers to a variety practiced before we really understood what probability was. I think “Bayesianism” is an acceptable alternative, not just because Bayesian updating is the fundamental operation of this system, but because Bayesianism is the branch of probability that believes probabilities are degrees of mental credence and that allows for sensible probabilities of nonrepeated occurrences like “there is a God.”

Comment author:Coscott
12 August 2013 04:18:02PM
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2 points
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Just because Bayes did something awesome, doesn't mean that Bayesianism can't be named after other stuff that he worked on.

However, Bayesianism does invoke Bayes' Theorem as part of probability theory. Bayes' Theorem is a simple and useful part of Bayesian probability, so it makes a nice religious symbol, but I don't see it as much more than that. Saying Bayesianism is all about Bayes' Rule is like saying Christianity is about crosses. It is a small part of the belief structure.

Seems more like saying that Christianity is all about forgiveness. There's a lot more to it than that, but you're getting a lot closer than 'crosses' would suggest.

## Comments (203)

Best*11 points [-]I am confused. I always thought that the "Bayes" in Bayesianism refers to the Bayesian Probability Model. Bayes' rule is a powerful theorem, but it is just one theorem, and is not what Bayesianism is all about. I understand that the video being criticized was specifically talking about Bayes' rule, but I do not think that is what Bayesianism is about at all. The Bayesian probability model basically says that probability is a degree of belief (as opposed to other models that only really work with possible possible worlds or repeatable experiments). I always thought this was the main thesis of Bayesianism was "The best language to talk about uncertainty is probability theory," which agrees perfectly with the interpretation that the name comes from the Bayesian probability model, and has nothing to do with Bayes' rule. Am I using the word in a way differently than everyone else?

That's how I use it. This showed up in Yvain's response: