Hey, everybody. Been reading this thread for a month or two as I rewatch the series and finally almost caught up to it.
Statistical Probabilities (***½)
My main issue with the episode is that Bashir loses touch with reality so quickly that it doesn't translate well in the episode. I think the idea is sound, Bashir has always been an arrogant character so the fact that spending so much time around around genetically engineered super-geniuses causes him to become obsessed with the correctness of their statistical analyses makes sense for him. The problem is that we don't see enough of Bashir with the Jack Pack to fully understand how Bashir has become so engrossed in their work that he can no longer see the wood from the trees. We hear him discussing it with O'Brien, but that's not the same. The result is that when Bashir starts to passionately argue that the Federation must surrender it doesn't feel natural. The concept is good, the execution just needed to be better.
A few weeks ago, this very topic was front and center in the US media -- statistical analysis vs gut feelings. Only it wasn't about determining the chance of winning a war. It was about something much dirtier, politics. On one side were the math and statistics people claiming it was a highly likely victory for Obama. On the other were pundits, especially the conservative pundits who claimed it would be a landslide for Romney, because of all the heart and excitement they'd seen for him on the campaign trail.
The statisticians turned out to be overwhelmingly correct. Two separate analyses got it dead on. One got everything but one state.
Of course, it might be harder to predict the winner of a interstellar battle than something that's essentially a popularity contest. But with that fresh in my mind, it wasn't too hard to see why Bashir would support the statistical analysis.
My gripe wouldn't be that Bashir believed in the work of the Jack Pack. It's that the episode doesn't give enough credit to statistical analysis.