Assumed or Presumed?

(Apr 24, 2016)

Mortality modelling and research is often critically dependent upon assumptions, but certainty over whether those assumptions are well-founded may come only with hindsight. Human beings are prone to a number of biases, and checking if an assumption is appropriate means looking beyond our preconceptions and searching for corroborative evidence.

I was reminded of the importance of evidence whilst reading some mortality research from Olshansky, Carnes and Cassel (1990). This paper attempted something inherently tricky - it tried to construct a method for estimating plausible upper limits to human life expectancy. This paper has been cited many times, including somewhat negatively in a landmarků

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Tags: longevity, research, models, expert

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