‘Don’t feign to be stupid.’ This well-chosen phrase of Marc Kéry introduced some of our group members to the world of Bayesian Statistics (where the use of your previous knowledge on the parameter you’re interested in, the prior distribution, plays a role). Together with Michael Schaub, Marc taught the inspiring course entitled ‘Bayesian population analysis using WinBUGS’ based on the book of the same name.
I was impressed by how they managed to cover almost the whole book within 5 days: starting with a gentle introduction to the analysis of distribution, abundance and population dynamics using a Bayesian framework, followed by an introduction to the software WinBUGS and implementation of mixed models in it, and finishing with some examples of the implementation of Integrated Population Models in WinBUGS. Lectures were alternated with useful exercises.
I think all the participants are after this course better trained in making a balanced decision whether they want to make use of the full knowledge they have, or use the veil of stupidity to make big discoveries (Schwartz, 2008).