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The Subjectivity of Scientists and the Bayesian Approach Hardcover – April 16, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0471396857 ISBN-10: 0471396850 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Wiley Series in Probability and Statistics (Book 362)
  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 16, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471396850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471396857
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,639,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Press and Tanur argue that subjectivity has not only played a significant role in the advancement of science, but that science will advance more rapidly if the modern methods of Bayesian statistical analysis replace some of the more classical twentieth-century methods." (SciTech Book News, Vol. 25, No. 3, September 2001)

"An insightful work." (Choice, Vol. 39, No. 4, December 2001)

"compilation of interesting and popular problems" (Short Book Reviews - Publication of the Int. Statistical Institute, December 2001)

"...this book is fascinating." (Short Book Reviews, Vol. 21, No. 3, December 2001)

"...highlight the role of subjectivity in science by describing the life and works of 17 scientists." (Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 973, 2001/23)


"[...] it is a splendid and important book." —Dennis Lindley

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scientists are subjective, and they always have been. This book documents the long list of scientists who developed the theory first and then went into the 'laboratory' to do observations. It shatters the image of objective scientists, and creates an amazing picture of the scientific method. Prominent examples were:

Johannes Kepler, who developed the laws of planetary motion, probably fudged his data on the motion of Mars. Gregor Mendel, the father of genetic theory, reported only data that conformed to his theory. Lots of other examples include the experiments that established the mass of the electron and others.

For dessert, the authors discuss the Bayesian approach to the evaluation of data. In essence, they suggest that we enter the scientific process with a notion of prior probabilities for what the outcome will be. We carry with us the body of evidence we have seen in our lives. Great scientsts are no different, and have achieved great things in spite of (or because of) their biases.

There is plenty here in the book to make their point. The prose can be a bit stilted, but the book is emminently readable.
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