Hatfields and McCoys

18 Nov

The recently published cartoon by xkcd below tore the scab off the festering tension between the Hatfields and the McCoys of the statistical world – ‘Bayesians’ and ‘Frequentists’.

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/frequentists_vs_bayesians.png

Bayesians vs Frequentists

While these terms could simply refer to categories of statistical tools, or differing viewpoints on the way statistics and probability can be interpreted, they have turned into the names of two warring factions.
Some of the flavour of the argument, as re-ignited by the cartoon can be seen here http://andrewgelman.com/2012/11/16808/

For a longer view see here for a review of a book charting the development of statistics and the Bayesian/ Frequentist rivalry.
In the mean time, when learning about Bayesian statistics for actuarial exams you can rise above it all, and just choose the best tool for the job. A hammer doesn’t mind if sometimes you a screwdriver.

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