Books & E-Class


Class. links are at the bottom.

This is the permanent page for Uncertainty: The Soul of Modeling, Probability & Statistics. E-copies can be had from Springer in EPUB and PDF formats. Amazon has a Kindle version (but I’ve heard bad things about its formatting).

Important student note: apparently many universities have a deal with Springer such that you can read for free the book on your university’s library site.

Uncertainty’s a hit! 821 paper copies sold and 7,915 downloads: “This means your book was one of the top 25% most downloaded eBooks in the relevant
SpringerLink eBook Collection in 2016.”

Note: the more attractive cover image was a gift from Wrath of Gnon.

The Big Gist

  1. All probability is conditional;
  2. Probability is not decision.

From those simple and proved truths flows these consequences:

  • Probability cannot discern cause;
  • Therefore no hypothesis test, by wee p-value or Bayes factor, should ever be used;
  • Parameters are of no interest to man or beast;
  • Only verified probability models should be used and in a predictive sense;
  • To understand cause and provide explanation we must look to nature, essence, and power.

Therefore buy the book and be the first on your block to come to a wondrous, penetrating understanding of probability & statistics. Out with the new and in with the old! The older, better, and true understanding of cause and probability, that is. Eschew mathematics for the sake of mathematics, flee ad hocery in all its forms and wiles, and put probability to its intended real use!

This includes you, too, computer scientists, with your big deep data neural net machine “learning” fuzzy algorithms which are all probability models with (admittedly) better names.

Reviews & Additional Material

Review at The New Criterion (link)

Review at The Philosopher by Thomas Scarborough (link).

Review at Vox Popoli (link)

Review at Mathematical Association of America (link)

Review by Don Aitkin (link)

Review by Brett Stevens at Amerika (link)

Review at Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (link)

Review by Thorsten Jorgen Ottosen, Director of Research (link)

Every Result Of Unsupervised Learning Is Correct; Or, All Learning Is Supervised (link)

The Gremlins Of MCMC: Or, Computer Simulations Are Not What You Think (link)

You—Yes, You—Are Doing Probability & Statistics Wrong — WMBriggs Podcast. (link)

The Hierarchy Of Models: From Causal (Best) To Statistical (Worst) (link)

The Solution To The Doomsday Argument (link)

Real Versus Statistical Control (link)

Formal Logic And Probability (link)

Bayesian Statistics Isn’t What You Think (link)

Falsifiability Is Not That Useful (link)

The Difference Between Essential And Empirical Models (link)

Under-determination, Quus, And Why It’s Cause That Counts (And With A Taste Of Grue) (link)


Applied Statistics (on line class).

Other Books

Breaking the Law of Averages, class notes and a simple introduction to some of the main ideas of Uncertainty. Free PDF (recommended), or buy the hardcover.

So, You Think You’re Psychic?, a skeptical framework for testing for would-be psychics. Free PDF (recommended), or buy the hardcover. This was written long before I figured out the true meaning of probability. It’s past due for an update.


  1. Perhaps these are overly picky things to consider:
    1) pg 3 , 3rd paragraph, consider change “… insist all triangles have … ” to “… insist all planar triangles have … ”
    2) of 4, 4th paragraph change “I don’t consider idealism to be on any interest.” to “I don’t consider idealism to be of any interest.”

  2. I’ll probably buy the book anyway and not wait for a paperback version (if any). Is it ok to post feedback, comments, questions, typos, here?

  3. Page 10 first paragraph under “Science and Scientism” should be

    “That radium *has* the atomic weight of w might be false…”

    and not

    “That radium does not have the atomic weight of w might be false…”

  4. Dear Dr Briggs,

    I am enjoying your book. There is so much I philosophically agree with it and will feature it on my blog. I find your book timely. I have encountered quite a number of scientists who have no philosophical appreciation at all, some are quite allergic to it.

    I am so glad you wrote it.


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