Also, how do we know when the probability surpasses 50%? Couldn't the prior probability of the sun rising tomorrow be astronomically small, and with Bayesian updates using the evidence that the sun will rise tomorrow, merely make the probability slightly less astronomically small?

The prior probability could be anything you want. Laplace advised taking a uniform distribution in the absence of any other data. In other words, unless you have some reason to suppose one outcome is more likely than another, you should weigh them equally. For the sunrise problem, you could invoke the laws of physics and our observations of the solar system to assign a prior probability much greater than 0.5.

Example: If I handed you a biased coin and asked for the prior probability that it comes up heads, it would be reasonable to suppose that there's no ... (read more)

Stupid Questions May 2015

by Gondolinian 1 min read1st May 2015264 comments


This thread is for asking any questions that might seem obvious, tangential, silly or what-have-you. Don't be shy, everyone has holes in their knowledge, though the fewer and the smaller we can make them, the better.

Please be respectful of other people's admitting ignorance and don't mock them for it, as they're doing a noble thing.

To any future monthly posters of SQ threads, please remember to add the "stupid_questions" tag.