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Here Be DragonsScience, Technology and the Future of Humanity$
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Olle Häggström

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723547

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723547.001.0001

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The fallacious Doomsday Argument

The fallacious Doomsday Argument

(p.171) Chapter 7 The fallacious Doomsday Argument
Here Be Dragons

Olle Häggström

Oxford University Press

The fallacious Doomsday Argument has haunted philosophy and futurology since the 1990s. It is a statistical argument that purports to show, almost without empirical data, that human extinction is relatively imminent, but the argument is mistaken, and this chapter is an attempt to get it out of the way once and for all. Its most straightforward formulation is shown to be an illegitimate mixture of Bayesian and frequentist statistics. Attempts to turn it into a purely Bayesian or a purely frequentist argument also fail to convince.

Keywords:   Doomsday Argument, Bayesianism, frequentism

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