Today’s convoluted statistics exercise: Use Bayesian statistical methods to estimate the probability that Bayesian statistical methods will be invented by life that arises elsewhere in the universe.
BACKGROUND: The Physics arXiv blog explains everything you need to know to make this estimate:
The Drake equation is one of those rare mathematical beasts that has leaked into the public consciousness. It estimates the number of extraterrestrial civilisations that we might be able to detect today or in the near future…. Of the many uncertainties in the Drake equation, one term is traditionally thought of as relatively reliable. That is the probability of life emerging on a planet in a habitable zone. On Earth, life arose about 3.8 billion years ago, just a few million years after the planet had cooled sufficiently to allow it…. Today, David Spiegel [pictured here] at Princeton University and Edwin Turner at the University of Tokyo say this thinking is wrong. They’ve used an entirely different kind of thinking, called Bayesian reasoning, to show that the emergence of life on Earth is consistent with life being arbitrarily rare in the universe….
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1107.3835: Life Might Be Rare Despite Its Early Emergence On Earth: A Bayesian Analysis Of The Probability Of Abiogenesis