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JoshuaZ comments on Bayes' Theorem Illustrated (My Way) - Less Wrong

126 Post author: komponisto 03 June 2010 04:40AM

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Comment author: JoshuaZ 04 June 2010 05:16:05PM *  6 points [-]

At this point you've had this explained to you multiple times. May I suggest that if you don't get it at this point, maybe be a bit of an empiricist and write a computer program to repeat the game many times and see what fraction switching wins? Or if you don't have the skill to do that (in which case learning to program should be on your list of things to learn how to do. It is very helpful and forces certain forms of careful thinking) play the game out with a friend in real life.

Comment author: mattnewport 04 June 2010 06:22:13PM *  9 points [-]

play the game out with a friend in real life.

If logical wants to play for real money I volunteer my services.

Comment author: Sideways 04 June 2010 05:51:05PM 5 points [-]

If--and I mean do mean if, I wouldn't want to spoil the empirical test--logical doesn't understand the situation well enough to predict the correct outcome, there's a good chance he won't be able to program it into a computer correctly regardless of his programming skill. He'll program the computer to perform his misinterpretation of the problem, and it will return the result he expects.

On the other hand, if he's right about the Monty Hall problem and he programs it correctly... it will still return the result he expects.

Comment author: khafra 04 June 2010 06:08:00PM 5 points [-]

He could try one of many already-written programs if he lacks the skill to write one.

Comment author: Sideways 04 June 2010 06:24:24PM *  4 points [-]

Sure, but then the question becomes whether the other programmer got the program right...

My point is that if you don't understand a situation, you can't reliably write a good computer simulation of it. So if logical believes that (to use your first link) James Tauber is wrong about the Monty Hall problem, he has no reason to believe Tauber can program a good simulation of it. And even if he can read Python code, and has no problem with Tauber's implementation, logical might well conclude that there was just some glitch in the code that he didn't notice--which happens to programmers regrettably often.

I think implementing the game with a friend is the better option here, for ease of implementation and strength of evidence. That's all :)