Journal Article

Sudden Infant Death or Murder? A Royal Confusion About Probabilities

Neven Sesardic

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 58, issue 2, pages 299-329
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axm015
Sudden Infant Death or Murder? A Royal Confusion About Probabilities

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In this article I criticize the recommendations of some prominent statisticians about how to estimate and compare probabilities of the repeated sudden infant death and repeated murder. The issue has drawn considerable public attention in connection with several recent court cases in the UK. I try to show that when the three components of the Bayesian inference are carefully analyzed in this context, the advice of the statisticians turns out to be problematic in each of the steps. 1

Introduction

2

Setting the Stage: Bayes's Theorem

3

Prior Probabilities of Single SIDS and Single Homicide

4

Prior Probabilities of the Recurrence of SIDS and Homicide

5

Likelihoods of Double SIDS and Double Homicide

6

Posterior Probabilities of Double SIDS and Double Homicide

7

Conclusion

Journal Article.  13908 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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