The Tomb of Thomas Bayes in 2023

In July this year, my friend and long-term collaborator Michael Lee visited the grave of Thomas Bayes at Bunhill Fields in London. When Michael showed me the photo I was shocked. This is what Bayes’ tomb looks like in 2023:

The grave of Thomas Bayes at Bunhill Fields in London, cropped from a photo by Michael Lee taken in July 2023.

Overgrown with moss and generally in a sorry state, this is hardly a worthy monument to the man who pioneered the way in which causes can be inferred from consequences. This is all the more surprising because ISBA, the International Society for Bayesian Analysis, has a fund that is dedicated to the upkeep of the tomb. According to the ISBA website, the “Thomas Bayes Tomb Maintenance Fund” is a “a small fund, replenished by member donations, devoted towards continuing the upkeep of the tomb of the Reverand Thomas Bayes, namesake of ISBA, into the future. Initial contributions to the fund were from BEST (Bayesian Efficient Strategic Trading) LLC of Hoboken, NJ, after an introduction by ISBA.” The accompanying photo on the ISBA website shows the tomb in a relatively good state:

The initial restoration was apparently carried out in 2007, and this webpage shows the before and after photos. Immediately after its restoration, the tomb looked impressive, all shiny and bright white. It seems that by 2023, the tomb has regrettably regressed to its pre-2007 state. How sad! ISBA, can we please fix this?!

About the author

Eric-Jan Wagenmakers

Eric-Jan Wagenmakers

Eric-Jan (EJ) Wagenmakers is professor at the Psychological Methods Group at the University of Amsterdam.