Previous Post Revised

bykomponisto9y14th Dec 200926 comments


Followup to: The Amanda Knox Test: How an Hour on the Internet Beats a Year in the Courtroom

See also: The Importance of Saying "Oops"

I'm posting this to call attention to the fact that I've now reconsidered the highly confident probability estimates in my post from yesterday on the Knox/Sollecito case. I haven't retracted my arguments; I just now think the level of confidence in them that I specified was too high. I've added the following paragraph to the concluding section:

[EDIT: After reading comments on this post, I have done some updating of my own. I now think I failed to adequately consider the possibility of my own overconfidence. This was pretty stupid of me, since it meant that the focus was taken away from the actual arguments in this post, and basically toward the issue of whether 0.001 can possibly be a rational estimate for anything you read about on the Internet. The qualitative reasoning of this post, of course, stands. Also, the focus of my accusations of irrationality was not primarily the LW community as reflected in my previous post; I actually think we did a pretty good job of coming to the right conclusion given the information provided -- and as others have noted, the levelheadedness with which we did so was impressive.]

While object-level comments on the case and on my reasoning about it should probably continue to be confined to that thread, I'd be interested in hearing in comments here what people think about the following:

  • How much of a distraction did you find my extremely confident probabilities to be from the substance of my arguments?
  • How much did those confident estimates make it seem like I was disagreeing, rather than agreeing, with the LW survey consensus? (It seemed to me that I had provoked people into trumpeting pro-guilt arguments more than they otherwise would have if I had initally given more "reasonable" numbers.)
  • To what sorts of propositions, if any, do you yourself assign probabilities on the order of 0.999 or 0.001?