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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Bayes, Religion and academic politics

Over at Error Statistics there is an interesting post  reblogging a piece by Normal Deviate on the question of whether Bayesian inference is a religion? This is something that I  have no opinion about whatsoever, even when taken within the rather measured and circumscribed terms in which Normal Deviate frames it. There is a link though to a fascinating Youtube interview with Dennis Lindley that gives you a lot of  insight into one particular Bayesian mind. 
Starting around 10:28 Lindley, talking of the time when he was HoD at UCL makes the following extraordinary admission: "...there were two members of the department who weren't playing the Bayesian line at all and I didn't think they were very good, so I went to the administration of University College and asked if there was any chance of being able to sack them?" 
Well, I suppose that plotting to get rid of people that don't agree with you - let's leave aside the question of whether that is the reason you judge them to be no good - is perfectly coherent... Being quite untroubled in confessing it is, to my mind, quite chilling. Tenure, which we gave away without much of a fight, was invented for a reason.

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