The Blue Bus & Solomon's Charade

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The Blue Bus and Solomon's Charade

As stated in the case book

Problem: Blue Bus

P is negligently run off the road into a parked car by a blue bus. P is prepared to prove that D operates four-fifths of all the blue buses that use the route. What effect, if any, should such proof be given?(1)

Stated slightly differently from in-class. Here the witness "knows" knows that it was a blue bus. Now the question is how likely is it that the bus belonged to D. As stated in class the problem feels more stark because no one can even testify about the bus color. (In actuality I don't think it matters because it comes down to the same statistical question about the identity of the bus, but it does feel differently to me.)

As stated in class, she "knows" it's a bus, but does not know the color. Here we've just pushed the credibility question back to "I know it was a bus." rather than "I know the bus was blue."

In any event, the question is the same. Is an 80% chance "more probable than not?" Yes, it is more probable than not (which has a 20% probability of being true.) Without any additional evidence D should lose. As a juror, I am expecting to hear that, "yes D's bus company does run 80% of the busses over that road, but D never runs their busses at night." or "we have accounted for the wherabouts of all of our busses, and we will present evidence that proves that it could not have been one of our busses." Or even better, "We have accounted for the wherabouts of 75% of our busses and therefore there is only a 50% chance that it was one of our busses, which is not more likely than not." In the absence of such lawyering, I think D's insurance company either pays the claim (I'm assuming that the suit is against the bus company in civil court, not against any particualr driver in criminal court) or sues for legal malpractice.

Why do we find this strictly probabalistic answer unsatisfactoy? Because it does not match the narrative we've created for what the Machine does. The machine finds the truth, and probabulity is not truth (for most people).

Solomon's Charade

Solomon does not know the truth. Solomon's questioning may have revealed the truth, but it is not certain to have. Yet, Solomon does not announce that he has chosen the "better" outcome. Solomon announces that he has divined the true mother. Solomon does not know the true mother..

Yet, Solomon must play the Law-Lord. The Law-Lord wears a robe in order to take from the Religion-Lord the most powerful tool in the arsenal; the ability to say "what the truth IS." This is Solomon's Charade. Why does Truth feel better than Statistics? Because "God does not play dice with the universe."