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Archive of posts filed under the Decision Theory category.

The round of 8 begins: Mark Twain (4) vs. Miguel de Cervantes (2); Carlin advances

For yesterday‘s contest I really really really wanted to pick John Waters. For one thing, of all the 64 people in the bracket, he’s the one I think I’d like to hear the most. For another, he’s still alive and just might conceivably be amused enough by this whole contest to come up from Baltimore […]

George Carlin (2) vs. John Waters (1); Updike advances

The bard of the suburbs wins yesterday‘s bout with another fine turn of phrase, this time brought to us in comments by Ethan: “Drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.” Updike, from “My Father’s Tears.” I want to hear from someone who can write like that about things […]

Friedrich Nietzsche (4) vs. John Updike; Austen advances

I chose yesterday‘s winner based on the oddest comment we’ve received so far in the competition, from AC: I’d love to see what Jane Austen (Austen’s early Regency dress style: thought of late Regency dresses (, which were basically the exact opposite sensibility. It’s an astonishingly quick reversal, from narrow and prim to a […]

Stewart Lee vs. Jane Austen; Dick advances

Yesterday‘s deciding arguments came from Horselover himself. As quoted by Dalton: Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost . . . perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that precious little fragment as well. And: We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and […]

Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Philip K. Dick (2); Hobbes advances

All of yesterday‘s best comments were in favor of the political philosopher. Adam writes: With Hobbes, the seminar would be “nasty, brutish, and short.” And it would degenerate into a “war of all against all.” In other words, the perfect academic seminar. And Jonathan writes: Chris Rock would definitely be more entertaining. But the chance […]

Imagining p<.05 triggers increased publication

We’ve all had that experience of going purposefully from one hypothesis to another, only to get there and forget why we made the journey. Four years ago, researcher Daryl Bem and his colleagues stripped this effect down, showing that the simple act of obtaining a statistically significant comparison induces publication in a top journal. Now […]

Chris Rock (3) vs. Thomas Hobbes; Wood advances

In yesterday‘s contest, there’s no doubt in my mind that Levi-Strauss would give a better and more interesting talk than Wood, whose lecture would presumably feature non-sequiturs, solecisms, continuity violations, and the like. But the funniest comment was from Jonathan: Ed Wood on Forecasting: “We are all interested in the future for that is where […]

Claude Levi-Strauss (4) vs. Ed Wood (3); Cervantes wins

For yesterday we have a tough call, having to decide between two much-loved philosophical writers, as Jonathan put it in comments: Camus on ramdomness; how make a model when there is no signal — only noise. Cervantes on making the world fit the model through self-delusion. Two fascinating statistics lectures with the same underlying theme […]

Miguel de Cervantes (2) vs. Albert Camus (1); Twain wins

Yesterday‘s winner is Mark Twain because, as Anonymous demonstrated in the comments, Twain on Eddy is more interesting than Eddy on Eddy. Today’s third-round match pits an eternal classic vs. the coolest of the cool. P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here are the rules.

Round 3 begins! Mark Twain (4) vs. Mary Baker Eddy

After yesterday‘s John Waters victory, we’re now in the Round of 16: Thanks again to Paul Davidson for providing the bracket. Remaining are 4 authors, 3 comedians, 3 cult figures, 1 founder of religion, 2 French intellectuals, 2 philosophers, 1 religious leader, and 0 artists. Today’s lucha is a classic grudge match—Twain and Eddy have […]