# Immortality & Bayesian Statistics

#### Jabba

##### Member
- Can we validly estimate the likelihood of the current existence of my "self" -- given that it can exist for only one finite time at most? Seems to me that we can -- at least to the extent that we can conclude that its likelihood is extremely small.
- Next, since the same goes for everyone, is the estimate of my likelihood an appropriate figure in our formula? I think it is.
- Then, is more than one finite existence a reasonable possibility? I think it is.
- And finally, can we validly estimate the likelihood of there being something more? I think we can.

- I think that pretty much covers the issues here, and I'd love to discuss/argue them with anyone who might be interested. I'll try very hard to be objective...

#### GretaGarbo

##### Human
What is E?

Isn't E the evidence? The evidence that you are alive. (Not even Decartes had doubts about that.) Isn't it so that the the probability of being alive is one for both hypothesis? So that P(E| H) =1 and P(E| ~H) =1? You are absolutely sure that you are alive, are you not?
Then what else did you have? P(H) = 0.99.

Then

P(H| E) = P(E| H) P(H)/( P(E | H)+P(E | ~H) ) = 1*0.99/(1+1) = 0.99/2

This seems strange.

Of course one of the usual criticism of Bayesianism is to pull out a hypothesis P(H) out of thin air when there is no empirical evidence for it.

#### The Sparrow

##### New Member
- Can we validly estimate the likelihood of the current existence of my "self" -- given that it can exist for only one finite time at most? Seems to me that we can --
Based on what data points?

at least to the extent that we can conclude that its likelihood is extremely small.
About the same likelihood as the banana I am holding, or the coffee cup in front of me.

- Next, since the same goes for everyone, is the estimate of my likelihood an appropriate figure in our formula? I think it is.
Based on what data points?

- Then, is more than one finite existence a reasonable possibility? I think it is.
Why? Why is it a reasonable possibility? I say it is an unreasonable possibility. Why are you right and I am wrong?

- And finally, can we validly estimate the likelihood of there being something more? I think we can.
Based on what data points?

- I think that pretty much covers the issues here, and I'd love to discuss/argue them with anyone who might be interested. I'll try very hard to be objective...
You have demonstrated here and elsewhere that you are anything but objective.
Your goal is to selectively cherry pick parts of the posts that you can spin to prop up your "proof."

#### Buckeye

##### Active Member
From my understanding, the prior probability/distribution is assigned based on previous data/experiments. And the statistician would consult previous literature or talk with an expert in the field about this. And since none of this really exists in this case I haven't read much into this post. Jabba cannot convince me unless he shows me data! #### The Sparrow

##### New Member
From my understanding, the prior probability/distribution is assigned based on previous data/experiments. And the statistician would consult previous literature or talk with an expert in the field about this. And since none of this really exists in this case I haven't read much into this post. Jabba cannot convince me unless he shows me data! Be prepared for links to "reincarnation" claims where people 'remember past lives'.

In other words if you accept reincarnation as factual, you can use that as data to support that immortality is true because reincarnation happens. (I know, makes you want to scream, yes?)

#### CB

##### Super Moderator
From my understanding, the prior probability/distribution is assigned based on previous data/experiments. And the statistician would consult previous literature or talk with an expert in the field about this. And since none of this really exists in this case I haven't read much into this post. Jabba cannot convince me unless he shows me data! This is the case sometimes. Priors can also be purely subjective, or just assume a state of ignorance.

Quick sum-up:

To apply Bayes theorem to the testing of an hypothesis you need three inputs:
P(H), the prior probability that the hypothesis (e.g., that reincarnation exists) is true
P(D|H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were true
P(D|~H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were false

It is sort of acceptable to just make up a number for P(H); this is the subjective mode of Bayesian inference, where you report a posterior that is transparently contingent on a particular subjective specification of the prior probability.

However, scientists base the likelihood terms P(D|H) and P(D|~H) on actual empirical data and fitted statistical models. Jabba argues that P(D|~H), the probability of him existing, would be some small number if reincarnation does not exist, and that's intuitively reasonable, but he has no actual empirical data or statistical model to put a number on how small. Even worse, he has absolutely no way of putting any kind of number on P(D|H), the probability that he would be here if reincarnation does exist. We have no idea of knowing what that probability would be without some detailed specification of how reincarnation might work, how many times people are reincarnated, etc. Without this input, we cannot calculate a posterior probability, and the whole exercise is doomed.

The net effect is that Jabba does not have appropriate inputs to solve this problem using Bayes theorem, even if he understood the theorem properly, which I'm not convinced of. I'm not interested in further back and forth about this with Jabba; there is simply no way that he can demonstrate what he wants to.

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#### j58

##### Active Member
Jabba's argument boils down to this: We observe E (which could be anything) whose probability would be infintessimal if it were produced by a random process. On the other hand, if E were created by God, P(E) would be 1. Hence, observation of E favors the God hypothesis over the random hypothesis by a hundred orders of magnitude. Using this "logic," obervation of any random event is overwhelming evidence that Goddidit. Find a used deck of cards laying around? Probability that the deck would be in the observed order if it had been randomly shuffled? One in 10^68. Probability it would be in that order if Goddidit? 1. QED.

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CB

#### Jabba

##### Member
What is E?

Isn't E the evidence? The evidence that you are alive. (Not even Decartes had doubts about that.) Isn't it so that the the probability of being alive is one for both hypothesis? So that P(E| H) =1 and P(E| ~H) =1? You are absolutely sure that you are alive, are you not?
Then what else did you have? P(H) = 0.99.

Then

P(H| E) = P(E| H) P(H)/( P(E | H)+P(E | ~H) ) = 1*0.99/(1+1) = 0.99/2

This seems strange.

Of course one of the usual criticism of Bayesianism is to pull out a hypothesis P(H) out of thin air when there is no empirical evidence for it.
Greta
- I've used E to designate a particular Event -- the current existence of my awareness.
- The probability of my current existence [P(E)], is 1 (in a sense) --under both hypotheses.
- In Bayesian statistics, P(E|H) is the probability (or "likelihood") of my current existence if H (that my self can have only one finite existence) is true. P(E|~H) is the probability/likelihood of my current existence if H is not true.
- I claim that if H were true, I really shouldn't be here, and consequently, H must not be true...

Greta: Then what else did you have? P(H) = 0.99.
- Yeah. That's the "prior probability" that H is true -- before introducing E. Scientifically speaking -- without including the implications of my current existence -- H is almost certainly true.
- And consequently, P(~H) has to be registered as .01.

Greta: Then
P(H| E) = P(E| H) P(H)/( P(E | H)+P(E | ~H) ) = 1*0.99/(1+1) = 0.99/2
This seems strange.

- Here,
- The formula should read P(H|E) = P(E|H)P(H)/(P(E|H)P(H)+P(E|~H)P(~H)), and end up equaling virtually zero.

Greta: Of course one of the usual criticism of Bayesianism is to pull out a hypothesis P(H) out of thin air when there is no empirical evidence for it.
- Here, P(H) is the established hypothesis and there is all sorts of empirical evidence in support. Here, it is P(~H) that might be considered as pulled out of thin air -- but, I claim that there is more than sufficient empirical evidence to support a prior probability of .01 for ~H. I'll be happy to argue that point if you wish.

#### The Sparrow

##### New Member
....
- I claim that if H were true, I really shouldn't be here, and consequently, H must not be true...
Texas sharpshooter fallacy. You are assuming the bundle of biomass that came together to be you is special or intended, then going "wow, how amazing that the big bang led to this."

Your statement "I really shouldn't be here"
is false, so any conclusions or inferences that follow are baseless.

- Here, P(H) is the established hypothesis and there is all sorts of empirical evidence in support. Here, it is P(~H) that might be considered as pulled out of thin air -- but, I claim that there is more than sufficient empirical evidence to support a prior probability of .01 for ~H. I'll be happy to argue that point if you wish.
Here you will post "evidence" of reincarnation. There is no evidence, Only anecdotes that fall apart on any moderately serious scientific analysis.
You cannot assume re-incarnation is true in order to prove re-incarnation and therefore immortality is true based on statistical inference.

#### Jabba

##### Member
This is the case sometimes. Priors can also be purely subjective, or just assume a state of ignorance.

Quick sum-up:

To apply Bayes theorem to the testing of an hypothesis you need three inputs:
P(H), the prior probability that the hypothesis (e.g., that reincarnation exists) is true
P(D|H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were true
P(D|~H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were false

It is sort of acceptable to just make up a number for P(H); this is the subjective mode of Bayesian inference, where you report a posterior that is transparently contingent on a particular subjective specification of the prior probability.

However, scientists base the likelihood terms P(D|H) and P(D|~H) on actual empirical data and fitted statistical models. Jabba argues that P(D|~H), the probability of him existing, would be some small number if reincarnation does not exist, and that's intuitively reasonable, but he has no actual empirical data or statistical model to put a number on how small. Even worse, he has absolutely no way of putting any kind of number on P(D|H), the probability that he would be here if reincarnation does exist. We have no idea of knowing what that probability would be without some detailed specification of how reincarnation might work, how many times people are reincarnated, etc. Without this input, we cannot calculate a posterior probability, and the whole exercise is doomed.

The net effect is that Jabba does not have appropriate inputs to solve this problem using Bayes theorem, even if he understood the theorem properly, which I'm not convinced of. I'm not interested in further back and forth about this with Jabba; there is simply no way that he can demonstrate what he wants to.
- From above:
Jabba argues that P(D|~H), the probability of him existing, would be some small number if reincarnation does not exist, and that's intuitively reasonable, but he has no actual empirical data or statistical model to put a number on how small.
CowboyBear,
- Just to clarify, in my claim, It's P(D|H) that represents the likelihood of my current existence if reincarnation does not exist.
- As far as I can tell, you never said why the reasoning I provided didn't support a very small number for P(D|H). Wouldn't science expect that my current existence depended upon my specific sperm cell and specific ovum coming together? If they hadn't come together, would I be here? Would I ever be here? Would science expect that I had to be here some time?
- I'll get to the rest of your response above as soon as possible.

#### Jabba

##### Member
This is the case sometimes. Priors can also be purely subjective, or just assume a state of ignorance.

Quick sum-up:

To apply Bayes theorem to the testing of an hypothesis you need three inputs:
P(H), the prior probability that the hypothesis (e.g., that reincarnation exists) is true
P(D|H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were true
P(D|~H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were false

It is sort of acceptable to just make up a number for P(H); this is the subjective mode of Bayesian inference, where you report a posterior that is transparently contingent on a particular subjective specification of the prior probability.

However, scientists base the likelihood terms P(D|H) and P(D|~H) on actual empirical data and fitted statistical models. Jabba argues that P(D|~H), the probability of him existing, would be some small number if reincarnation does not exist, and that's intuitively reasonable, but he has no actual empirical data or statistical model to put a number on how small. Even worse, he has absolutely no way of putting any kind of number on P(D|H), the probability that he would be here if reincarnation does exist. We have no idea of knowing what that probability would be without some detailed specification of how reincarnation might work, how many times people are reincarnated, etc. Without this input, we cannot calculate a posterior probability, and the whole exercise is doomed.

The net effect is that Jabba does not have appropriate inputs to solve this problem using Bayes theorem, even if he understood the theorem properly, which I'm not convinced of. I'm not interested in further back and forth about this with Jabba; there is simply no way that he can demonstrate what he wants to.
- From above:
Jabba argues that P(D|~H), the probability of him existing, would be some small number if reincarnation does not exist, and that's intuitively reasonable, but he has no actual empirical data or statistical model to put a number on how small.
CowboyBear,
- Just to clarify, in my claim, It's P(D|H) that represents the likelihood of my current existence if reincarnation does not exist.
- As far as I can tell, you never said why the reasoning I provided didn't support a very small number for P(D|H). Wouldn't science expect that my current existence depended upon my specific sperm cell and specific ovum coming together? If they hadn't come together, would I be here? Would I ever be here? Would science expect that I had to be here some time?
- I'll get to the rest of your response above as soon as possible.
This is the case sometimes. Priors can also be purely subjective, or just assume a state of ignorance.

Quick sum-up:

To apply Bayes theorem to the testing of an hypothesis you need three inputs:
P(H), the prior probability that the hypothesis (e.g., that reincarnation exists) is true
P(D|H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were true
P(D|~H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were false

It is sort of acceptable to just make up a number for P(H); this is the subjective mode of Bayesian inference, where you report a posterior that is transparently contingent on a particular subjective specification of the prior probability.

However, scientists base the likelihood terms P(D|H) and P(D|~H) on actual empirical data and fitted statistical models. Jabba argues that P(D|~H), the probability of him existing, would be some small number if reincarnation does not exist, and that's intuitively reasonable, but he has no actual empirical data or statistical model to put a number on how small. Even worse, he has absolutely no way of putting any kind of number on P(D|H), the probability that he would be here if reincarnation does exist. We have no idea of knowing what that probability would be without some detailed specification of how reincarnation might work, how many times people are reincarnated, etc. Without this input, we cannot calculate a posterior probability, and the whole exercise is doomed.

The net effect is that Jabba does not have appropriate inputs to solve this problem using Bayes theorem, even if he understood the theorem properly, which I'm not convinced of. I'm not interested in further back and forth about this with Jabba; there is simply no way that he can demonstrate what he wants to.
CowboyBear,
- .The following comes from #114. I'll switch the symbolism to yours. Hopefully, that will make things less confusing.
- Re P(D|H):
- I figure that H is made up of multiple specific options:
#1. My self exists an infinity of times.
#2. My self exists multiple times, but not an infinity of times.
#3. MY self exists infinitely, but on different "planes."

- If those are all the different specific possibilities, I need to estimate the prior probability of each (given that H is true), multiply those numbers by the likelihood of my current existence given that specific possibility, then add up the separate products. Hopefully, I got that right...

- Also, I'm still having trouble navigating this site.

#### Jabba

##### Member
To apply Bayes theorem to the testing of an hypothesis you need three inputs:
P(H), the prior probability that the hypothesis (e.g., that reincarnation exists) is true
P(D|H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were true
P(D|~H), the probability of the observed data if the hypothesis were false
CB,
- Revising my formula to fit your symbols and reincarnation as H.

- Re P(H):
From #99, revised a little.
- In regard to the hypothesis that reincarnation does not exist, I propose that P(D|~H) is virtually zero, P(~H) is .99, P( E|~H) is about .60 and P(H) is .01.
- I also suggest that the P(E|~H) is so small that the P(H) could be any real number (say .000001) and P(~H|D) would still be virtually Zero.
- I also propose that science keeps coming to (and will keep coming to) new, and important, conclusions. Quantum Mechanics seems to be taking us where no scientist has gone before -- including the importance of the observer and consciousness, and the nature of time.

From #101 with revised symbolism.
- I still think that my priors are generous in favor of the ~H side. The following are a couple more sites that I think support my suspicion.
- http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/
- https://phys.org/news/2015-12-worldwide-survey-religion-science-scientists.html
- I just figure that we should be open-minded enough to accept that atheists just might be missing something -- especially, when a lot of scientists are not atheists and do think that the atheists are missing something.
-
That really applies to my broader claim. In regard to the prior probability of reincarnation itself, there is all sorts of anecdotal evidence for it and for related claims of NDEs andOOBEs.
- Not that anecdotal evidence should be given equal status to experimental evidence, but then some of the studies are pretty impressive. And, the Internet is full of them.
- And again, if I'm right about P(D|~H), the prior probability of H can be extremely small without tilting the scale in favor of P(~H|D).

#### GretaGarbo

##### Human
Jabba said:
- The probability of my current existence [P(E)], is 1 (in a sense) --under both hypotheses.
So P(E|H) is 1 and P(E|~H) is 1.

Jabba also said (in #132):
"I propose that P(D|~H) is virtually zero, P(~H) is .99, P( E|~H) is about .60 and P(H) is .01."

Where E and D is the same. These things does not go together. You must make up your mind. Then just plug it in in Bayes theorem and show it to us.

(That I wrote wrong about Bayes theorem is laughable.)

#### Jabba

##### Member
Jabba said:

So P(E|H) is 1 and P(E|~H) is 1.

Jabba also said (in #132):
"I propose that P(D|~H) is virtually zero, P(~H) is .99, P( E|~H) is about .60 and P(H) is .01."

Where E and D is the same. These things does not go together. You must make up your mind. Then just plug it in in Bayes theorem and show it to us.

(That I wrote wrong about Bayes theorem is laughable.)
Greta,
- I've been screwing up...
- If I actually said that P(E|H) is 1 and P(E|~H) is 1, I shouldn't have...

- Re "I propose that P(D|~H) is virtually zero, P(~H) is .99, P( E|~H) is about .60 and P(H) is .01." I should have said "I propose that P(D|~H) is virtually zero, P(~H) is .99, P( D|H) is about .60 and P(H) is .01." Sorry about that.
- So now I have
- P(~H|D) = 0 * .99/ ((0 * .99) + (.60 * .01)) = 0. and
- P(H|D) = .60 * .01/ ((.60 * .01) + (0 * .99 * .99)) = 1.
- Note that 0 and 1 actually represent virtually 0, and virtually 1.

- Hopefully, I finally got that right. Thanks for your help.

#### The Sparrow

##### New Member
Still waiting for your calculations on how you came up with .60, .99 etc.
Or are these numbers just made up?

#### Jabba

##### Member
Still waiting for your calculations on how you came up with .60, .99 etc.
Or are these numbers just made up?
Sparrow,
- From #131 for .60:
- Re P(D|H):
- I figure that H is made up of multiple specific options:
#1. My self exists an infinity of times.
#2. My self exists multiple times, but not an infinity of times.
#3. MY self exists infinitely, but on different "planes."

- If those are all the different specific possibilities, I need to estimate the prior probability of each (given that H is true), multiply those numbers by the likelihood of my current existence given that specific possibility, then add up the separate products. Hopefully, I got that right...

- From 132 for .99 and .01:
- I also propose that science keeps coming to (and will keep coming to) new, and important, conclusions. Quantum Mechanics seems to be taking us where no scientist has gone before -- including the importance of the observer and consciousness, and the nature of time.

From #101 with revised symbolism.
- I still think that my priors are generous in favor of the ~H side. The following are a couple more sites that I think support my suspicion.
- http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/
- https://phys.org/news/2015-12-worldwide-survey-religion-science-scientists.html
- I just figure that we should be open-minded enough to accept that atheists just might be missing something -- especially, when a lot of scientists are not atheists and do think that the atheists are missing something.
- That really applies to my broader claim. In regard to the prior probability of reincarnation itself, there is all sorts of anecdotal evidence for it and for related claims of NDEs andOOBEs.
- Not that anecdotal evidence should be given equal status to experimental evidence, but then some of the studies are pretty impressive. And, the Internet is full of them.

- And again, if I'm right about P(D|~H), the prior probability of H can be extremely small without tilting the scale in favor of P(~H|D).

- For 0 (virtually zero), see #31.

#### bryangoodrich

##### Probably A Mammal
Ignorance never bothers me. It's the assurance in one's correctness when painfully ignorant that bothers me. This is over 100 comments in futility that serves no purpose. Stop feeding the trolls and let it die. Jabba has no intent on learning. He just wants to have his preconceptions validated mathematically in the dumbest of ways. It's of no value to anybody to participate. It doesn't help us reason better. It doesn't help us understand Bayes' theorem and its applications any better. Just stop.

CB

#### Dason

##### Ambassador to the humans
Ignorance never bothers me. It's the assurance in one's correctness when painfully ignorant that bothers me. This is over 100 comments in futility that serves no purpose. Stop feeding the trolls and let it die. Jabba has no intent on learning. He just wants to have his preconceptions validated mathematically in the dumbest of ways. It's of no value to anybody to participate. It doesn't help us reason better. It doesn't help us understand Bayes' theorem and its applications any better. Just stop.
I'm done.
Yup

#### The Sparrow

##### New Member
LOL. Now he is back to invoking quantum woo. In respect for this site I will bow out now. You folks obviously see now what is going on.
Good forum! Lots of large brains here. Was glad to visit.

#### Jabba

##### Member
Jabba's argument boils down to this: We observe E (which could be anything) whose probability would be infintessimal if it were produced by a random process. On the other hand, if E were created by God, P(E) would be 1. Hence, observation of E favors the God hypothesis over the random hypothesis by a hundred orders of magnitude. Using this "logic," obervation of any random event is overwhelming evidence that Goddidit. Find a used deck of cards laying around? Probability that the deck would be in the observed order if it had been randomly shuffled? One in 10^68. Probability it would be in that order if Goddidit? 1. QED.
j58,
- I started this response yesterday, but lost it...
- I think you're referring to what's called the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. The following is at least part of my answer
1. Or, it could be that all possible events – given H – are equally unlikely (e.g. a fair lottery) — if so, the particular event needs to be “set apart” in a way that is relevant to the hypothesis -- otherwise, to use that likelihood in the appropriate formula is committing the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy.
2. Someone always wins a lottery. But, if we find out that this particular winner is second cousin to the person controlling the lottery, we have reason to wonder (this sets the specific event apart from the other possibilities).
• So then, is your current self “set apart” from all the other selves?
• Here’s why I think it is.
• You are the only thing that you know exists — the rest could be your imagination. (Some would say that you’re a “process,” rather than a “thing.”)
• If you didn’t ever exist, it would be as if nothing ever existed — and, it would seem that the “likelihood” of you ever existing would be less than 1/10100— given the non-religious hypothesis. {“Likelihood,” is an official term
• If you didn’t currently exist, it would be as if nothing currently existed, and the likelihood of you currently existing is even (much) less than the likelihood of you ever existing…
• That gives enormous significance to your current, personal SSA.
• And, the thing is, every current SSA has the same reason to believe that OOFLam is wrong — and that she or he is not mortal.
• IOW, you don’t need to be objectively set apart from other selves;subjectively is good enough.