No one knows the date or the hour: An unorthodox application of rev. Bayes's theorem

Philosophy of Science 66 (3):353 (1999)
Abstract
Carter and Leslie (1996) have argued, using Bayes's theorem, that our being alive now supports the hypothesis of an early 'Doomsday'. Unlike some critics (Eckhardt 1997), we accept their argument in part: given that we exist, our existence now indeed favors 'Doom sooner' over 'Doom later'. The very fact of our existence, however, favors 'Doom later'. In simple cases, a hypothetical approach to the problem of 'old evidence' shows that these two effects cancel out: our existence now yields no information about the coming of Doom. More complex cases suggest a move from countably additive to non-standard probability measures
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Chris Smeenk (forthcoming). Predictability Crisis in Early Universe Cosmology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics.
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