Category Archives: bayes

Imaginary Evidence

Does the fact that we can imagine something provide any evidence about it? The practice of philosophy and some other disciplines ends with the use of the imagination as a source of argument. As soon as you leave the realms … Continue reading

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Global Warming: so-so science, horrible politics

Rupert Darwall’s The Age of Global Warming is an interesting and important book for people who want to understand the political and diplomatic history of climate change. Environmentalism comes in two kinds: pragmatists who want to formulate policy based on … Continue reading

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Opinions, Judgements and the Bayesian Revolution

This article on what it means to “have an opinion” is not bad, but it muddles two fundamentally different types of “opinion” and as such fails to get at the root of the problem, and misses important ideas about diversity … Continue reading

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Dark Matter, Aether, Caloric and Neutrinos

It is fairly common today to see laypeople compare dark matter to the luminferous aether, that bugaboo of 19th century physics whose existence was disproven by the Michaelson-Morley experiment and which was subsequently made redundant by Einstein’s kinematic relativity. Aether … Continue reading

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Reification Revisited

I think very slowly and I’m not very smart. Unlike every other human being on Earth, who “just knows” exactly what is the right thing to do in all circumstances and is never, ever wrong about it, I sometimes make … Continue reading

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Ockham\’s Razor is a Special Case of Bayes\’ Rule

William of Ockham was an English cleric who eponymous principle of logic looms large in far too much of what passes for “debate” on the Internet. People who deploy Ockham’s razor never seem to stop and and wonder why they … Continue reading

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Sampling Fossils

Sometime in the late 80’s or early 90’s I read an article in Nature that argued we should expect “first discovery” dates in the sciences that involve digging up fossils to take periodic leaps backward. The argument is compelling: because … Continue reading

Posted in bayes, evolution, history, probability, software | 2 Comments

Explanation vs Prediction

The name of my consulting company is Predictive Patterns Software Inc, and as the name suggests, a lot of my work has been writing algorithms (software) that finds patterns in data that are predictive of outcomes. I’ve worked mostly in … Continue reading

Posted in bayes, economics, epistemology, history, life, politics, prediction, probability, psychology, war | 1 Comment

The Bonferroni Correction

Despite sounding a bit like the title of a Robert Ludlum novel, the Bonferroni Correction is a somewhat controversial fix for a common issue in statistical analysis. The issue itself is nicely illustrated by this particular bit of wisdom: June … Continue reading

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Reflections

It’s been a busy couple of months. The first part of this was written a few weeks ago and a whole lot has already changed, mostly for the good. I’ve sold my boat, and therefore have experienced the other of … Continue reading

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