I read in Liberation a rather surprising tribune (in French) by “Yann Moix, writer”. The starting point is a criticism of Stephen Hawking (and Leonard Mlodinow)’s recent book The Grand Design, With regards to its conclusion that a god is not necessary to explain the creation and the working of the Universe: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” I haven’t read Hawking’s book (although I briefly considered buying it in London last time I was there, here is a Guardian review), I had never heard before of this (controversial) writer, and I do not see the point in debating about supernatural beings (except when reviewing a fantasy book!). However, the arguments of Moix are rather limited from a philosophical viewpoint.
Archive for Liberation
Yesterday, the French daily Liberation ran a story about an appeal trial. As I happened to contribute to an expertise about this murder, I went pestering my office neighbours in Dauphine with the story and my two words of “fame” («très probablement»). The funniest thing is that our conclusion is quoted all wrong! We determined (by a simple Bayesian conjugate analysis of a Binomial experiment) that a cell-phone call was very unlikely to have been given from the place the main suspect said she was, given the antenna that got this call, while Liberation [and maybe the court] reports that the suspect was very likely to be at the location of the murder… No wonder when considering that statistics nor probability is taught in Law schools. Nor directly used in trials, as far as I know.
Ps- It is also comes as a surprise to me that this trial is still going on when considering that the murder took place in 1997 and that we sent our report in early 2000.