tolerated almost as comic relief

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Senior Member
Mandarin / the Shanghai Dialect

In an era when many sneered at Bayes, it took courage to create Europe's leading Bayesian department. Often the only Bayesian at meetings of the Royal Statistical Society and certainly the only combative one, Lindley defended Bayes' rule like a fearless terrier or a devils advocate. In return, he was tolerated almost as comic relief.​

The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy by Sharon Bertsch Mcgrayne​

How can I interpret “comic relief” here?​
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    'Tolerated' means people put up with him reluctantly. It seems this was because they found his defence of Bayes' rule almost funny to listen to. In other words, they didn't pay close attention or think what he said was very important but they found it amusing to let him speak passionately about Bayes' rule – perhaps as a light relief from more serious business.

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