Aaron Edlin writes:
This story is interesting in its own right . . . I have a question so I thought I would ask a Bayesian statistician.
One fact I learned on reading this article is that Oswald had a job in the building that Kennedy drove by before Kennedy’s route was chosen. So Oswald didn’t get the job to shoot Kennedy. Does this “prove” there was no conspiracy or indeed have any bearing on the likelihood of that inference?
My reply: I actually have a friend whose father worked on the Warren Commission so I’ve long been convinced that Oswald acted alone.
But, sure, this piece of information should shift the probability a bit. The difficulty is that the amount (and even the direction) of the shifting of the probability depends on the model you are assuming for various possibilities, and these possibilities themselves are not so clearly defined. Bayesian statistician Jay Kadane wrote a book a few years ago on the Sacco and Vanzetti case, going into the evidence supplied by each piece of information. The whole piece of work was impressive but it was hard for me to follow, there were so many little details.