Steven Strogatz is writing a column for the New York Times where he discusses math, starting with basic concepts and working his way up to the complex and cerebral.

I, and a lot of people, love his column. However, last week’s piece on probability was not received so well by the statistics community., particularly on Andy Gelman’s blog and Junk Charts’ sister blog, Numbers Rule Your World.

Strogatz shows what he claims is a method of computing conditional probability without using Bayes’ Theorem, though the method he describes is exactly Bayes’ Theorem without the handy formula. I personally think it is easier to use the formula, but that might be because I’ve studied probability far more than most people.

You should give the article a read, it is completely worth your time as are all of his other article. But also read the aforementioned criticisms because they bring up good points and even suggest how that post could have been better.

Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.

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