Thursday, September 30, 2004

Dice, Probability, and Law

There is more to probability than dice and games of chance. Nonetheless, I think it is probably(!?) useful to use dice to introduce law students to some basic points about probability theory. I like to use a set of large "fair" dice. (Later I will perhaps post a [true!] story about my unsuccessful attempt to buy magnetized dice.) This Monday I will also try to use the nifty applet at the following web site to make several points: Introduction to Probability Models.
  • Magnetized dice would be a nice way to illustrate dependent probabilities.

  • Repeated rolls of dice (with, e.g., the applet mentioned above) can be used, I think, to show, by analogy, some of the problems that can arise with the use of statistics about the relative (in)frequency of SIDS to prove criminal guilt or, even, with the use of such statistics to justify "just" coercive investigation by the state.
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