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Judges and Statistics

The CAS in Lausanne  and a German Appeals Court (and possibly others that I missed) rejected sanctions imposed upon accused cheaters. 

In subsequent discussions in this forum the consensus opinion seemed to be that the judges were wrong and that they knew too little about bridge and statistics. My own opinion is that the judges can learn all they need to know about bridge and cheating at cards in about 10 minutes. The problem is understanding statistical logic. 

Legal cases involving evidence based on statistics are not rare and decisions that appear to be hare-brained or partisan, or both, frequently occur. Widely publicized examples are claims that Atomic Power Stations cause cancer and other diseases, that Agent Orange caused various health problems among Vietnam veterans, smoking and lung cancer etc. etc. 

An interesting recent instance concerned the Gerrymander, a creature indigenous to the U.S. The Supreme Court issued opinions on 3 separate challenges to voting maps and, when you read these, you will be struck by many analogies to the problem of proving collusion in bridge. Intentional gerrymandering was found to be unconstitutional some 30 years ago; similarly "everybody" agrees that cheating at bridge should be punished. Yet no gerrymandered voting map has ever been successfully challenged in the Supreme Court. (Some voting maps were successfully challenged in State Courts, however).

The problem is genuine. It has drawn the attention of mathematicians but that has not led to agreement on a practicable solutions.

"How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering,” Erica Klarreich, Quanta Magazine, April 4, 2017.

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