A question was recently posted to an listserve that I subscribe to asking (perhaps cynically?) when a Bayesian approach has been crucial to "getting the job done" in addressing questions in the field of ecology. I'm wondering, in general, about when a Bayesian approach has been essential to progress in a particular field.
In ecology, Bayesian methods seem to be most frequently used in applied situations with big, complicated data sets, so I'd be especially interested in circumstances that relate to important or classic theories or hypotheses in a field.
For example, in ecology, Bayesian methods appear to be the only way to fit complex hierarchical models and obtain accurate estimates of things like the size of a population of animals or the survival rate of an individual in a population of critters. I'm not familiar with instances when progress was made on burning theoretical questions because a Bayesian approach was used, though this could be because ecological theory is often addressed with reductionistic experiments in an ANOVA-like framework where p-values are the historically valued currency.