## Bayesian methods

Suppose I claim that I have a pair of magic rainbow socks. I allege that whenever I wear these special socks, I gain the ability to predict the outcome of coin tosses, using fair coins, better than chance would dictate. Putting my claim to the test, you toss a coin 30 times, and I correctly predict the outcome 20 times. Using a directional hypothesis with the binomial test, the null hypothesis would be rejected at alpha-level 0.05. Would you invest in my special socks?

Why not? If it's because you require a larger burden of proof on absurd claims, I don't blame you. As a grandparent of Bayesian analysis, *Pierre-Simon* *Laplace* (who independently discovered the theorem that bears *Thomas* *Bayes'* name), once said: The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness. Our prior belief—my absurd hypothesis—is so small that it would take much stronger evidence to convince the skeptical investor, let alone the scientific community.

Unfortunately...