Last week was a gathering of physicists in Oxford to discuss string theory and the philosophy of science.

From the article:

Nowadays, as several philosophers at the workshop said, Popperian falsificationism has been supplanted by Bayesian confirmation theory, or Bayesianism...

Gross concurred, saying that, upon learning about Bayesian confirmation theory from Dawid’s book, he felt “somewhat like the Molière character who said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been talking prose all my life!’”

That the Bayesian view is news to so many physicists is itself news to me, and it's very unsettling news. You could say that modern theoretical physics has failed to be in-touch with other areas of science, but you could also make the argument that the rationalist community has failed to properly reach out and communicate with scientists.

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The character from Molière learns a fancy name ("speaking in prose") for the way he already communicates. David Gross isn't saying that he is unfamiliar with the Bayesian view, he's saying that "Bayesian confirmation theory" is a fancy name for his existing epistemic practice.

-1[anonymous]5yI tried to get a discussion going on this exact subject in my post this week, but there seemed to be little interest. A major weakness of the standard Bayesian inference method is that it assumes a problem only has two possible solutions. Many problems involve many possible solutions, and many times the number of possible solutions is unknown, and in many cases the correct solution hasn't been thought of yet. In such instances, confirmation through inductive inference may not be the best way of looking at the problem.
0Luke_A_Somers5yWhat gets me more is the guy who was complaining that the atomic theory is left in the same framework with 1-epsilon probability. No, this is not a problem.

Open thread, Dec. 21 - Dec. 27, 2015

by MrMind 1 min read21st Dec 2015233 comments


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