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# A Primer on Probability for Design Inferences

September 28, 2005 | Posted by William Dembski under Intelligent Design |

I’ve just posted two pieces on my designinference.com website about the role of probabilistic reasoning in design inferences. The first is titled “A Primer on Probability for Design Inferences.” This piece is new. The second is chapter 33 from my book *The Design Revolution*, titled “Design by Elimination vs. Design by Comparison.”

### 9 Responses to *A Primer on Probability for Design Inferences*

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Friends at UncommonDescent,

I wanted to let you know about a piece I published this week on the persecution of professionals who dissent from Darwin (Dean Kenyon, Roger DeHart, Richard Sternberg, Guillermo Gonzalez). It is posted at TAE Online (The American Enterprise Magazine).

http://www.aei.org/publication23249

– Joe

I’m curious about the definition of conditional probability. Given two events E and F with F known to have occured, does the reference class contract to F? If E lies outside of the set of events defined by F, why wouldn’t you want the union of the reference classes?

It’s the portion of E inside of F that’s relevant.

Hey Bill, is the newly revised Design inference out yet?

Actually I totally screwed up my terminology in my question. “Cartesian Product” is probably more appropriate. My reasoning went something like this: Suppose F is the result of rolling a 6 sided die and E is the result of tossing a coin. Since the two sets are disjoint, you need to build a larger set consisting of all the possible pairs. Thus the phrase “contracts to F” confused me.

[That falls under probabilistic independence, which I deal with as well in that primer. --WmAD]

From what I understand, Bayesian and Frequentist methods often converge in practice. Also, most people are neither ultra-Frequentists or ultra-Bayesians, that is, they accept parts of each when useful.

Statistics is cool since it always debates the very foundations of itself!

Can you help me? Was Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes a Fisherian or a Bayesian. In “The sign of the Four” he says “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” – Fisherian?. But in “Silver Blaze” he expresses it this way “Improbable as it is, all other explanations are more improbable still” which seems a bit Bayesian….

Mark,

Technically, I believe Holmes used deduction, not induction.

I could be wrong though.

Nevermind. I did get it wrong.