Archive for India

the god delusion [statistically speaking]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2014 by xi'an

While in Bangalore, I spotted Richard Dawkins’ The God delusion in the [fantastic if chaotic] campus bookstore and bought the Indian edition for a nominal amount.  I read most of it during my week in Boston. And finished by the lake in Maine. While I agree with most of the points made in Dawkins’ book about the irrationality of religions, and of their overall negative impact on human societies, I found the first part rather boring in that I see little appeal in dissecting so minutely the [infinitely many] incoherences of religious myths and beliefs, as this will likely miss the intended target [i.e., literal believers]. Similarly, the chapter on evolution versus intelligent design made valuable points, albeit I had already seen them before. Nothing wrong with repeating those, in particular that evolution has little to do with chance, but again unlikely to convince the [fundamentalist] masses. Overall, the book mostly focus on the Judeo-Christian-Muslim branch of religions, which may reflect on the author’s own culture and upbringing but also misses the recent attempts of Buddhism to incorporate science into their picture.

“A universe in which we are alone except for other slowly evolved intelligences is a very different universe from one with an original guiding agent whose intelligent design is responsible for its very existence.” (p.85)

What is most interesting in the book (for me) is when Dawkins tries to set the God hypothesis as a scientific hypothesis and to apply scientific methods to validate or invalidate this hypothesis. Even though there is no p-value or quantitative answer at the end. Despite the highly frequent use of “statistical” and “statistically improbable” in the corresponding chapter. What’s even more fascinating is Dawkins’ take at Bayesian arguments! Either because it is associated with a reverent or because it relies on subjective prior assessments, Bayesian statistics does not fit as a proper approach. Funny enough, Dawkins himself relies on subjective prior probabilities when discussing the likelihood of find a planet such as Earth. Now, into the details [with the Devil1] in a rather haphazard order or lack thereof: Continue reading

Munbai map [recycled art]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2014 by xi'an

MumbaiWhile my transfer in Munbai from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 was a bit hectic, with a security luggage scan before boarding a shuttle that would drive us to outside the terminal [next to slums that seemed to have direct access to the runways of the airport!), the brand new Terminal 2 was impressive as well as efficient as I went through security and passport controls quite quickly. I eventually reached the museum part, as this terminal holds an unbelievable collection of artefacts, sculptures and paintings. From the lounge, I could admire the above map of the region of Mumbai, made of recycled computer boards, by Akshay Rajpurkar, which I found deeply moving. If I ever travel past Mumbai T2 terminal, I will make sure to tour the rest of the collection!

Bangalore snapshot [ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಚಿತ್ರ]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by xi'an



marriage with data

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on August 1, 2014 by xi'an


Bangalore snapshot [ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಚಿತ್ರ]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , on August 1, 2014 by xi'an


Bangalore snapshot [ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ಚಿತ್ರ]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , on July 29, 2014 by xi'an


off to Bangalore

Posted in Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , on July 26, 2014 by xi'an

I am off to Bangalore for a few days, taking part in an Indo-French workshop on statistics and mathematical biology run by the Indo-French Centre for Applied Mathematics (IFCAM).


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