Archives for 

Chapter 3.1

3.1 Sofie Tolmeijer



In the Lucia de Berk case many things went wrong. One of the mean things that was wrong interpreted was the statistics. First the Juliana Children hospital calculated the probability that is was a coincidence that during a work shift of Lucia de Berk there was an incident. – An ‘incident’ in this manner is when someone needed to be resuscitated. – The result of this calculation was a probability of 1 out of 700.000.000. Later Professor Elffers calculated it again and he came to the conclusion that is was 1 out of 342.000.000. This is still a very small probability.

The court (alfa) made the following statement about this evidence: ‘…Out this calculation follows that it is very unlikely that the suspect was there by coincidence when the in the indictment named incidents […] took place. The calculation give therefore a high significance that there is a correlation between the activities of Lucia de Berk and the incidents that took place.’

But this is a misunderstanding about what small probabilities mean. A small probability doesn’t tell us anything about how probable that coincidence is. So it didn’t made sense that the court said: ‘that it is very unlikely that the suspect was there by coincidence’.

This lack of knowledge about statistics on the alfa-part, brings the beta-part (and the alfa-part itself) in trouble.

This is an interesting example of misunderstanding science, because statistics is an important field in science. What makes this particular case so special is that this piece of evidence was first one of the mean reasons Lucia got locked up in jail, but later it completely disappeared from the list of evidence. And maybe even more interesting is that not only the judge interpreted the evidence wrong, but also were the calculations wrongly performed. In this example it is very clear how sensitive scientific evidence is.


Used resources:

(Erasmus University Rotterdam, 12-11-07)

H3 – alfa/beta

Motivation According to the case about Lucia de B, I  choose to describe the alfa-beta part of the story. This because as a doctor, you are always vulnerable to do something wrong or for making mistakes. I would like to find out what your rights are as a doctor and what you can do to […] Continue reading →

γγ & γβ

γγ In order to understand the interdisciplinary conflicts, one needs to understand the 4 disciplines first. I wanted to write about the γ discipline, that of social sciences. Though my background lies in the β discipline (engineering-, or in this case, medical science), my reason for taking this course was to learn more about other […] Continue reading →

Beta-Beta and Alpha-Beta

For step 2: α-β-γ-δ disciplines and cultures I would like to write about the β discipline and the debate between the fundamental and applied arm of the β culture. Fundamental science wants to understand causes and concepts and the objects and laws of fundamental science can be seen as the foundation underlying all other forms […] Continue reading →

Gamma-beta debate

Natural and human behaviour, two entities that are seeking co-operation, but might as well get in conflict. And so do the sciences that study them. At the interface of the beta and gamma sciences lie problems that require each others expertise. Large problems like environmental sustainability are problems defined by both the beta and gamma […] Continue reading →

Gamma en Gamma & beta

Onderdeel A+B De universiteiten, bedrijven en onderzoeksinstituten kunnen ingedeeld worden in vier verschillende disciplines: alpha, bèta, gamma en delta. Alpha wetenschappen houden zich bezig met het recht en bijkomende zaken zoals criminaliteit. De term bèta omvatten onderzoeksvelden als biologie, geneeskunde, wiskunde en natuurkunde. De derde discipline, gamma, onderzoekt de psyche van de mens in alle […] Continue reading →

Bijdrage Inhoud Boek: ββ (algemeen) en αβ (Lucia de B.)

Onderdeel A: Om verschillende disciplines te kunnen bediscussiëren dient er een wetenschappelijke cultuur ter indeling gehandhaafd te worden. Hierbij  worden de culturen α, β, γ en δ gebruikt. Dit omvat de disciplines jurisprudentie, engineering (wetenschap), sociale wetenschappen en economie respectievelijk.  Mijn voorkeur gaat uit naar het beschrijven van de ββ cultuur. Deze wetenschappelijke cultuur hoop […] Continue reading →