Cosmic Confusions: Not Supporting versus Supporting Not

Philosophy of Science 77 (4):501-523 (2010)
Abstract
Bayesian probabilistic explication of inductive inference conflates neutrality of supporting evidence for some hypothesis H (“not supporting H”) with disfavoring evidence (“supporting not-H”). This expressive inadequacy leads to spurious results that are artifacts of a poor choice of inductive logic. I illustrate how such artifacts have arisen in simple inductive inferences in cosmology. In the inductive disjunctive fallacy, neutral support for many possibilities is spuriously converted into strong support for their disjunction. The Bayesian “doomsday argument” is shown to rely entirely on a similar artifact, for the result disappears in a reanalysis that employs fragments of inductive logic able to represent evidential neutrality. Finally, the mere supposition of a multiverse is not yet enough to warrant the introduction of probabilities without some factual analog of a randomizer over the multiverses.
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John D. Norton (2011). Waiting for Landauer. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 42 (3):184-198.
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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