Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cosmology's not broken, so why try to fix it? - opinion - 10 August 2010 - New Scientist

Cosmology's not broken, so why try to fix it?: "Luckily there is an alternative approach which eradicates the problem: Bayesian statistics. This takes into account both information from the experiment and, crucially, any relevant real-world information. If the aliens had applied Bayes's theorem, they would have reached the correct answer: there is a 100 per cent probability that the organism is human, because no other Earth creatures are capable of piloting planes. That piece of information is vital, but is totally ignored by the frequentist analysis.

In a recent paper, we have argued that ruling out the entire cosmological model on the basis of a 0.05 per cent probability is similarly ill-advised (Physical Review D, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.81.103008). In cosmology and elsewhere, Bayes tells us it is justifiable to be conservative in the face of statistical anomalies."

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