Re: Opinions as Evidence

Robin Hanson (
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 10:03:05 -0800 (PST)

Lee Daniel Crocker writes:
>> From what I've read on Bayesian inference, judgements not based on Bayesian
>> methods or methods with indistinguishable results are objectively bad.
>By what rational means do we apply the precise mathematical model of
>Bayes to items in the real world, especially when those items are as
>obscenely complex and chaotic as human ideas? ... This is just a
>dressed-up version of the problem of induction. Why do think induction
>works? Because it usually does--an inductive argument. If we are to
>judge whether or not Bayesian inference can be applied to certain parts
>of the real world, what criteria will we use to judge the evidence? If
>you can offer me nothing better than Bayesian inference from that
>evidence, then I am unsatisfied.

You will not accept the reasonableness of Bayesian inference for the
purpose of a discussion on another topic, unless someone here will
summarize for you the vast literature on the normative arguments for
Bayesian inference, and solve the problem in induction to your
satisfaction in the process? Come now, your behavior here seems a
good example of the error of refusing to give any weight to the
opinions of others, unless they present to you, at your convenience
and in a form you can quickly understand, all the evidence behind
their opinions.

Robin D. Hanson