Speaking of Science: Bayes Theorem and Its Relevance to Skepticism

Date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 -
6:30pm to 8:00pm
Location: 
Adler Study - Room 514
Admission: 
Suggested donation: Members $5, Guests $10

With Chris Everett

In 1763, the Reverend Thomas Bayes published “An Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances,” containing what is now known as Bayes’ theorem. Bayes’ theorem remained relatively obscure for two centuries, but has since come to the forefront of statistical inference. Bayes’ simple but powerful theorem is notable for its subjectivist interpretation of probability, providing a mathematically rigorous framework for incorporating objective data into our otherwise subjective beliefs. Chris Everett will present a simple derivation of this important theorem and discuss some of its implications for everyday critical thinking and skepticism.

Chris Everett is a safety and risk analyst with thirty years experience in the areas of space systems safety, nuclear weapons safety, and missile defense lethality analysis. He currently manages the New York office of Information Systems Laboratories (ISL), where he supports NASA in the development of safety management processes and directives, the conduct of safety analyses, and the development of safety analysis software tools. Chris is a member of the New York Society for Ethical Culture and, with his wife Beth, runs the Society’s monthly Ethics in Film series.