I’ve already covered why prior probabilities are important, but unlike Will Kurt I didn’t think of the obvious pop-culture link.
C3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1!
Han: Never tell me the odds!
… Superficially this is just a fun movie dismissing “boring” data analysis, but there’s actually an interesting dilemma here. Even the first time you watch Empire you know that Han can pull it off. But, despite deeply believing that Han will make it through, is C3PO’s analysis wrong? Clearly Han believes it’s dangerous, “They’d have to be crazy to follow us.” None of the pursuing tie fighters make it through, which provides pretty strong evidence that C3PO’s numbers are not off. So what are we missing?
Go check out his post for a breezy but insightful argument explaining why priors matter.