Read This Post Even If You Have Been Confused By (Or Put Off By) the Posts on DNA, Statistics, and Cold Cases
I’m taking a survey, and I want maximum participation. You don’t have to understand the ins and outs of statistics. This is a simple and straightforward question, having to do with the meaning of the English language.
Assume police have a DNA sample. They run the profile through a DNA database. They get one match: to a man named Puckett.
The L.A. Times then writes:
The statistic that leading scientists consider the most significant is the probability that the database search had hit upon an innocent person. In Puckett’s case, it was 1 in 3.
My assertion: the paper is saying there was a 1 in 3 chance that Puckett was innocent.
The L.A. Times says I’m wrong. They say there is another way to read that language — but they won’t tell me what it is. (Yes, I asked.)
I say I’m right. This is the only way to read that passage.
What say you? Am I right or wrong?
Please begin your comment with the single declarative statement: “You’re right” or “You’re wrong.” Then explain away to your heart’s content.
If you say I’m wrong, please give me an alternate explanation of that quoted passage, that is consistent with the facts provided: a database search resulting in only one hit, to a man named Puckett.
Please, no discussions about whether the 1 in 3 number is actually right or wrong. This is a simple question about what the paper said, and whether it’s ambiguous or clear. I want to keep the question that simple.
I claim the quoted language can be read only one way: as an assertion that there is a 1 in 3 chance Puckett is innocent. Am I right or wrong?