Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The need for 25,550 trials was clearly an obstacle. Even if, as James Newman has suggested, Jacob Bernoulli had been willing to settle for the "immoral certainty" of an even bet—probability of 50/100—that the result would be within 2% of the true ratio of 3:2, 8,400 drawings would be needed. Jacob's selection of a probability of 1000/1001 is in itself a curiosity by today's standards, when most statisticians accept odds of 1 in 20 as sufficient evidence that a result is significant (today's lingo for moral certainty) rather than due to mere chance.

Peter Bernstein, Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk (127)

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