Archive for October, 2013

Does "Falsifiable" Really Mean "Provably False"?

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

In Why Falsifiability, Though Flawed, Is Alluring: Part I , William M. Briggs argues that "most theories scientists hold are not falsifiable" because "if the predictions derived from a theory are probabilistic then the theory can never be falsified. This is so even if the predictions have very, very small probabilities. If the prediction (given the theory) […]

Big Tents - Inclusive or Confining?

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

There has been a lot of heated reaction recently to a couple of incidents in which people have apparently denied the sincerity of others' statements of belief. Oprah Winfrey responded to atheist swimmer Diana Nyad's expression of wonder and awe at the universe with "Well, I don't call you an atheist then. I think if you […]

What Is Bjørn Lomborg Trying to Achieve?

Monday, October 28th, 2013

What Is Bjørn Lomborg Trying to Achieve? - asks Keith Kloor in his blog at, and with reference to his recent profile in Cosmos. Kloor says "it’s worth asking at this stage in his career if  Lomborg is a voice of reason, a professional pot stirrer, or a trollish ankle-biter. The answer probably depends […]

Newcomb's Paradox

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

via Decisions, decisions | Annoying Precision. Newcomb’s paradoxis the name usually given to the following problem. You are playing a game against another player, often called Omega, who claims to be omniscient; in particular, Omega claims to be able to predict how you will play in the game. Assume that Omega has convinced you in some […]

So What *Is* Significant About P-Values?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

To follow up on my previous post:  since the occurrence of an event having low probability according to some model is not always reason to doubt the model, it becomes natural to ask what would be reason to doubt the model. And for this, some of the negative examples from last time may help to bring things […]

What's Wrong With P-Values?

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

One of my favourite betes noires claims to have put everything wrong with P-Values under one roof. My response started with  "There’s nothing wrong with p-values any more than with Popeye. They is what they is and that’s that. To blame them for their own abuse is just a pale version of blaming any other victim." […]

Clean Slate? Asking Bjorn Lomborg To Help Figure Out 'The Most Pressing Issue Facing' America Is Like... | ThinkProgress

Monday, October 7th, 2013

one of the most pressing issues facing America is the media’s over-reliance on widely-debunked, non-credible sources, which poisons the atmosphere for a genuine discussion of our biggest problems and their best solutions via Clean Slate? Asking Bjorn Lomborg To Help Figure Out 'The Most Pressing Issue Facing' America Is Like... | ThinkProgress.

Scorpion Stings Itself!

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

In Whos Afraid of Peer Review? 'Science' magazine publishes a purported bit of "research" into the failings of open access journals which starts by selecting those of less repute and fails to do any comparable study of the population (of traditional subscription-based journals) against which the open access journals are being compared. This has generated a lot […]