The ESA isn’t the only big scientific society that just held its annual meeting. The American Statistical Association also met recently, and Nate Silver gave the Presidential address. Here’s ace philosopher of statistics Deborah Mayo’s commentary on Silver’s talk. She asks some penetrating questions about Silver’s motivation for being “Bayesian”. For instance, if people mostly have very strong pre-existing biases, as Silver says, are they really going to be willing to be explicit about their biases, as needed for a Bayesian analysis (and also willing to give up their biases in light of new data)? And if those biases are just people’s prejudices, as opposed to relevant background information, do we really want to build them into the data analysis via priors? Shouldn’t we be trying to keep prejudices out of the data analysis entirely? Her comments resonate with my own review of Silver’s (mostly excellent) book.