Mr Fortuner connection modem fortuner at MATH.U-BORDEAUX.FR
Wed Jun 14 10:06:47 CDT 1995

In the discussion on confidence, Alan Whittemore and Doug Yanega explain some
of the differences in identification by the use of different (or successive)
classifications (or keys), where the same species may have different

First, there is a difference between being confident about something
(= I am sure I am right), and being right. For example, in the recent French
election, we must assume that each voter was confident that he or she was
making the best (or the less bad) choice, but the fact is, a majority of them
were dead wrong and Chirac got elected.

Trying to analyze why we are
confident about an identification is one thing, deciding if we (or the other
guys) are right is another thing. (Don't get me wrong: I absolutely agree that
this is a legitimate concern, but a different one.)

Doug Yanega asks: "Which
ID has a higher "confidence": one based on a 1960's key, one based on a 1995
key, or one based on type material?" The way I see it, if an identifier is
still using a 1960's key, he may be very confident in his answer but I
wouldn't be very confident in him.

Going back to the original question by
Robert L. Chehey ("One of our largest clients has asked that we develop a
method of quantifying our confidence in our determinations"), it seems that
this client has confidence in Robert L. Chehey (if not, it would not remain a
large client for very long), which means that the client trusts Robert L.
Chehey for using the proper identification methods and an updated list of
species (i.e., with the latest synonyms). The client only wants him to
quantify his own confidence in his identifications.

fortuner at

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