You are in a situation much like a judge

You are in a situation much like a judge - in the following...

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You are in a situation much like a judge; you must decide whether or not a  treatment was effective, or whether or not the findings were meaningful.  The following figure illustrates the details of the task that faces us.  Imagine a party where the noise levels are sometimes very loud and  sometimes very quiet. Add the task of having to decide if someone knocked  at the door. Suppose they just tapped the door? You would not hear it.  Suppose they hit the door with a sledge hammer? Surely you would hear it.  What about all the variations in between? If they continually knocked  harder and harder, at what point would you just hear it? Any possible ratio  of signal to noise can occur.    The continuous function below is the result of all possible signal-to-noise  ratios illustrated in the above figure. Unfortunately, the information upon  which decisions are based is not a simple step function like the dashed line 
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Unformatted text preview: in the following figure, rather it changes gradually and continuously like the solid line. Except in the most trivial of cases decisions must be based on information which can take on any value. We cannot wait for a sledge hammer. The infinite series of ratios, each one slightly larger than the one before, is well illustrated by the increasing light levels with sunrise. The task is to decide when is it daylight. Further, the results of decisions are not always equal and irrelevant. You cannot simply do whatever you feel like doing at the time. Decisions must in fact be based on a weighing of the pros and cons of each outcome and comparing the net result to your “criterion” or the point you choose for when enough is enough. Both science and law reject capricious decisions....
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You are in a situation much like a judge - in the following...

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