Friday, April 01, 2011

Prior probabilities

After his weekly audience with the Omnipotent, Michael was chatting with Tetramorph, one of the seraphim forever stationed in throne room. Michael gave Tetramorph occasional updates regarding the current state of spiritual hostilities between angels, demons, witches, and Christians in the battle for earth.

This week he mentioned in passing that humans think with their brains. Tetramorph was incredulous. Since Tetramorph never left  the throne room, his firm and unalterable experience of minds was discarnate minds. The Godhead. Seraphic minds. Cherubic minds. Demonic minds.

Indeed, was any other type of mind even conceivable? The extraordinary notion of having to think with a brain was superfluous. A flagrant violation of Occam's razor. Why, it went dead against the uniformity of supernature. And extraordinary claims demanded extraordinary evidence.

As any seraph with a rudimentary grasp of Bayesean probability theory well knew, no testimony was sufficient to establish brainpower, unless the testimony were of such a kind that its falsehood would be more extraordinary than the fact which it endeavors to establish.

He was positive that Michael must be mistaken. Of course, Tetramorph was far too polite to openly question Michael’s judgment. That would be impertinent. But he couldn’t help saying to himself, “When any archangel tells me about brains, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable that this sprite should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact which he relates should really be so.” 

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