Re: Julian Jaynes (Re: JOIN: Olie NcLean)

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Sep 01 2005 - 16:12:08 MDT

Peter de Blanc wrote:
> On Thu, 2005-09-01 at 12:05 -0600, brannen wrote:
>>It has been decades, literally, since I read Jaynes but, IIRC, the
>>argument starts with the inferential fallacy 'absence of evidence
>>being evidence of absence' and goes downhill from there.
> Just a quick note: for a Bayesian, absence of evidence *is* evidence of
> absence.

I wondered if anyone would catch that. But if one is going to make that
point, one really should do three other things:

1) Phrase it mathematically: say that P(A|~B) < P(A) iff P(A|B) > P(A).

2) Post a link to an explanation, for the benefit of those bewildered
by a seeming violation of logic.

3) Note the qualitative fact that absence of evidence may be *extremely
weak* evidence of absence.

PS: Let's call the author "Julian Jaynes", so as not to confuse with
the late Bayesian Master E.T. Jaynes.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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