[extropy-chat] Inside Vs. Outside Forecasts

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Thu Oct 13 01:43:30 UTC 2005

At 09:30 PM 10/12/2005, you wrote:
>Robin Hanson wrote:
>>This nice thing about using formal statistical analysis is that if 
>>you do it right it should tell you when you are screwed.  If your 
>>posterior isn't much different from you prior, why then the data 
>>didn't tell you much.  So there's not much harm in trying the 
>>statistics.  We can't pretend we don't have beliefs on hard 
>>problems - so we have to try what we can to get the best estimates we can.
>Ideally, yeah.  If you don't have reference class fights.  Let's put 
>it this way:  If you set up a reference class and your formal 
>statistical analysis claims we're not screwed and makes a definite 
>prediction with a confidence bound, and I set up a different 
>reference class and my formal statistical analysis claims we're not 
>screwed and makes a definite prediction with a confidence bound, and 
>the two confidence bounds don't remotely overlap, then I stand by my 
>statement that we're screwed.

"Reference class" is unusual terminology in this context.  But I 
think you mean to refer to statistical modeling choices.  If we can 
agree on a prior over the space of models, we can agree on the 
posterior implied by the data.

Robin Hanson  rhanson at gmu.edu  http://hanson.gmu.edu
Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323 

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