probability and statistics

Approaching the unknown

We have some knowledge but it is not complete knowledge, not even arguably near complete. So what should we do about the areas where knowledge is lacking? We should certainly continue to investigate. But what do we say in the mean time? What can we justify saying about the unknown side of partial knowledge? There […]

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Uniqueness and uniformity

If everything were completely unique, we would have no way of identifying them as to what they are. If everything were completely identical, or uniform, we would have no way of distinguishing them. We conclude that the world is somewhere in between: everything is a combination of the unique and the uniform. If all events

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Science and statistics

Here is a story about two statisticians and two scientists. They are given a problem: what are the frequencies of the letters in English texts? The junior statistician has no research budget whereas the senior statistician has a modest research budget. Similarly, the junior scientist has no research budget but the senior scientist has a

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Evidence of Absence

Evidence of Absence: Completeness of Evidential Datasets Elliott Sober presents a likelihood argument about the motto “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” (Sober 2009).  He states the Law of Likelihood this way: The Law of Likelihood. Evidence E favors hypothesis H1 over hypothesis H2 precisely when Pr(E│H1) > Pr(E│H2). And the degree to

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