In the wake of the recent financial kablooie and under the influence of Nassim Taleb, Amar Bhide has decided to blame the Reverend Thomas Bayes. Taleb himself has not gone quite so far but instead stated that Bayes is “necessary but not sufficient“. Andrew Gelman points us to two reviews of “The Black Swan”, one of which is not content to vindicate one dead white male without trashing another. The odd thing about Lindley’s claim about Popper’s status being due to right-wing ideologues is that Popper himself was a social democrat.

Rather than Bayesian probability in general, Taleb’s ire seems more directed at the assumption of normal/Gaussian distributions. Though neither of us are statisticians, I thought Steve Sailer’s review of The Black Swan, sticking up for another dead guy (Francis Galton, implicitly) and the usefulness of bell curves, was worthwhile.

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