Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, Richard Carrier 2012:

# ch4

17. The pervasive unreliability of ancient historians and biographers is well proven by now, varying only in degree (but notoriously at or near its worst in the case of hagiography, i.e., the biographies of heroes and saints). See, for example, Charles Fornara, The Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983); Michael Grant, Greek and Roman Historians: Information and Misinformation (London: Routledge, 1995); A. B. Bosworth, From Arrian to Alexander: Studies in Historical Interpretation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988); Alan Cameron, Greek Mythography in the Roman World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Mary Lefkowitz, The Lives of the Greek Poets (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981); and Ava Chitwood, Death by Philosophy: The Biographical Tradition in the Life and Death of the Archaic Philosophers Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004). See also TETs, pp. 168–82 and TCDw, pp. 291–93.
18. Accordingly, Hume's antiquated argument against miracles has been corrected using BT, verifying my conclusion here: Aviezer Tucker, “Miracles, Historical Testimonies, and Probabilities,” History and Theory 44 (October 2005): 373–90 (with further sources cited, e.g., p. 374, n. 3); Robert Fogelin, A Defense of Hume on Miracles (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003); Michael Levine, “Bayesian Analyses of Hume's Argument Concerning Miracles,” Philosophy and Theology 10, no. 1 (1997): 101–106; Jordan Howard Sobel, “On the Evidence of Testimony for Miracles: A Bayesian Interpretation of David Hume's Analysis,” Philosophical Quarterly 37, no. 147 (April 1987): 166–86. See also Mark Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), pp. 456–68 (with pp. 363–65); and Yonatan Fishman, “Can Science Test Supernatural Worldviews?” Science and Education 18, no. 6–7 (August 2007): 813–37. Also pertinent is Jaynes's Bayesian treatment of ESP, in Jaynes and Bretthorst, Probability Theory, pp. 119–48. As a result, while “naive” Humean arguments against miracles are soundly refuted in Keener (“A Reassessment”), sound Bayesian reconstructions (such as I have briefed here) are not.

[cf. Robin Hanson "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But on uninteresting topics, surprising claims usually are surprising evidence; we rarely make claims without sufficient evidence. On interesting topics, however, we can have interests in exaggerating or downplaying our evidence, and our actions often deviate from our interests. In a simple model of noisy humans reporting on extraordinary evidence, we find that extraordinary claims from low noise people are extraordinary evidence, but such claims from high noise people are not; their claims are more likely unusual noise than unusual truth. When people are organized into a reporting chain, noise levels grow exponentially with chain length; long chains seem incapable of communicating extraordinary evidence."]
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