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Archive of posts filed under the Decision Theory category.

Aristotle (3) vs. Stewart Lee

Yesterday‘s winner is a tough one. Really, these two guys could’ve met in the final. Some arguments in the comments in favor of Freud: From Huw, “he has the smirks, knowing looks, and barely missed sidelong glances.” And Seth points out the statistical connection: “Some people might say that theory is getting lost in the […]

“A small but growing collection of studies suggest X” . . . huh?

Lee Beck writes: I’m curious if you have any thoughts on the statistical meaning of sentences like “a small but growing collection of studies suggest [X].” That exact wording comes from this piece in the New Yorker, but I think it’s the sort of expression you often see in science journalism (“small but mounting”, “small […]

Martin Luther King (2) vs. Sigmund Freud

We didn’t get any great comments yesterday, so I’ll have to go with PKD on the grounds that he was the presumptive favorite, and nobody made any good case otherwise. And today we have the second seed among the Religious Leaders vs. an unseeded entry in the Founders of Religions category. Truly a classic matchup. […]

Vincent van Gogh (3) vs. Grandma Moses

In yesterday‘s battle of the religions, the strongest argument against Mother Teresa was given by Paul, who related that she was friends with all sorts of nasty politicians and that she’s been accused of spending money that came from questionable sources. But if that’s all you can say about her, it won’t cut much ice […]

The bracket so far

Thanks to the Excel stylings of Paul Davidson: Our competition is (approximately) 1/4 done! And I’ve been thinking about possible categories for next year’s tourney: New Jersey politicians Articulate athletes Plagiarists People named Greg or Gregg Vladimir Nabokov and people connected to him . . . Ummm, we need 3 more categories. Any suggestions? Real […]

Mother Teresa (4) vs. Sun Myung Moon

For yesterday, I’ll have to go with Gandhi, the original badass of nonviolence. Zbicyclist found this quote, “He propagated that . . . we should take only that which is required, in minimum quantity. We should not eat to appease our taste buds,” which implies that Gandhi shouldn’t pick the caterer—but that’s not an issue, […]

Mohandas Gandhi (1) vs. Stanley Kubrick

Yesterday‘s competition is a toughie. If it were up to me, I think I’d have to go with Jesus. Here’s why: I’d come into the seminar with lots of resistance, like, c’mon, Jesus, I totally don’t believe the hype. As Hernan put it in comments: Jesus spoke in parables to avoid committing to a specific […]

Jesus (1) vs. Leo Tolstoy

For yesterday we’ll have to go with Hobbes. As Zbicyclist put it: “A seminar that promises to be nasty, brutish — and short!” Jonathan put the anti-David argument well: “If there were ever someone who would try to bullshit his way through a seminar, it’s Larry David. Unprepared (with some excuse of course) and a […]

Chris Rock (3) vs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

At first I thought yesterday‘s bout would be hard to score. But, after reading all the comments, it was easy. Beauvoir, and it’s not even close. My reasoning isn’t based on any single comment, but rather that there was a lot more passion in the comments about Beauvoir, pro and con. I think it’s fair […]

Simone de Beauvoir (2) vs. Raymond Carver

Yesterday‘s match is the closest call we’ve had yet. The funniest comment was the very first, from Anonymous: Yoko. I’d go up to her after the seminar and give her a list of all the bands I hate, and ask her if she could break them up too. Similarly from Daniel: Alan Turing broke the […]