Re: Fun With Bayes' Theorem

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed May 16 2001 - 19:40:53 MDT

Eliezer wrote

>There are non-Bayesians? I've never heard of any non-Bayesians or any
>"controversy". Where I come from, "Bayesian reasoning" is practically a
>synonym for "normative rationality".

Well, this question hasn't come up for me since the advent of the
web. Google to the rescue:

I quote:

It seems that thinkers in the field of probability and statistics are
divided into two armed camps, the Bayeseans and the Non- Bayeseans. The
fact that such a divsion has existed amongst educated people for over sixty
years suggests that neither side can clearly be shown to be wrong. When
prior probabilities are given as data, the Non-Bayesean generally has no
objection to the use of the Bayes formula, but when prior probabilities are
lacking he deplores the Bayesean's tendency to make them up out of thin
air. The Bayesean retorts that the Frequentist methods merely conceal the
problem instead of solving it, and that he really is the more honest of the
two. Shouts of joy are heard when, as occasionally happens, a Non-Baysean
"sees the light" and comes over. There is much celebrating and past sins
are forgiven.

P. G. Hamer describes the schism in these terms:

A frequentist uses impeccable logic to answer the wrong question, while a
Bayesean answers the right question by making assumptions that nobody can
fully believe in.

End quote.

Hey! Looks like my guess was right: I was the non-Bayesian
and you were the Bayesian. Moreover, we played the roles to
the hilt. Further, it looks like the schism is alive and well.

>> Only one question remains:
>> > (Vorlon voice:) "We are all Bayesian statisticians."

Still one question remains: Okay, I know the Vorlons are
from B5. But this quote rings a bell. Where else in our
culture did someone say "We are all X now." Anybody recall?


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