The arguments yesterday in favor of Laplace were valid, earnest, and boring. Dalton reinforced the contrast with this comment:
Belushi’s demons are a whole lot more interesting than Laplace’s demon. With the latter, you always know what you’re gonna get forever and ever evermore. The former offers heaps of exciting uncertainty, and if you remember the night, you’ll have a hell of story.
Then I read this comment from J Storrs Hall:
I fear that Laplace would be overly relaxed. Belushi, on the other hand, would be on a mission from God. With a full tank of gas. At midnight. Wearing sunglasses.
And he might even bring a penguin.
Compelling. But I don’t want a penguin in my seminar. A piranha or a kangaroo, sure, those have statistical relevance. But a penguin, no way. So Laplace, the first and greatest applied Bayesian statistician, goes to round 2.
Zbicyclist puts it well:
A man who had no need for God, and a man on a mission from God.
When our pastor was taking a statistics course as part of his MBA, I tried to explain how statistical models of human behavior were less of a violation of the notion of free will than the notion of an omniscient, omnipotent God was. I’d like to hear Laplace’s answer to this one, even if it’s just to sniff at the question.
Today we must choose between two charming show-business figures: Ian McKellen, seeded #2 in the “People whose names end in f” category, versus Ellen DeGeneres, an unseeded TV personality. You can’t go wrong with either one. All I’ve got for you is that Gandalf has a track record of saving people who are about to get eaten by trolls—I’ve been reading The Hobbit and happen to be right in the middle of that scene—and we do sometimes have trolls around here.
Any other thoughts?
Again, the full bracket is here, and here are the rules:
We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.
I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!