Letter | Published:

“Applied Statistics”



IN his review of my book “Statistical Methods in Electrical Engineering” (Nature, March 19, p. 484), Mr. F. Downton criticizes my statement that Bayes' theorem is controversial. The heading of the paragraph in Sir Ronald Fisher's book which I cited is “The Rejection of Inverse Probability”. Coupled with the lack of mention of Bayes beyond the introductory chapter, I can only take this to mean that the author did not accept the rigorous validity of anything which Bayes formulated. To me, therefore, it appears that Mr. Downton's statement is demonstrably untrue. Faced with this controversial issue when writing a practical book, I decided to mention the existence of the controversy and then take a firm decision (the opposite of Fisher's) which was justified primarily on empirical grounds.

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