Monday, February 29, 2016

Heterodox Academy

Here is where psychologist Jonathan Haidt and many other people promoting intellectual diversity are blogging.

Haidt says that lack of intellectual diversity handicaps academia. Most notably is the lack of conservatives in social science. While conservatives have biases, liberals hold certain ideas sacred too, Unfortunately, academia is filled will liberals who, like the rest of us, don't do a very good job of entertaining or criticizing the sacred ideas of their tribe.

Good job Heterodox Academy

Friday, February 26, 2016

Nate Silver - Conversations with Tyler

There's a lot of good stuff here. A lot of how to think not what to think.

I find it interesting when they agree that the best chance an individual voter has of moving a presidential election is in Virginia, where it's about 1 in 10 million. If you like those odds, maybe you should play a $2 lottery with those odds and win a million dollars?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Obama on Trump and the GOP race

Here's the video

Those Crazy Republicans

I'm generally very receptive to this. Republicans have an unwarranted anti-muslim streak, and they deny the reality of climate change.

Parties often have good points when criticizing each other. They're more often delusional when they talk about themselves.

I could also paint a picture of leftists and their hateful and anti-science views. We just wouldn't be talking about muslims and climate change, we'd be talking about CEOs and evolutionary psychology.

 He made the emphasis of his talk that he trusts that the American people will do the right thing. I also think that the Democrats will get the nomination. But he didn't give any probabilities. If the Repubs are as bad as he says they are, then isn't a 20% chance of trump winning very scary? Shouldn't that undermine his faith in democracy and government relative to their alternative, the private sector?

I also appreciate the Obama didn't devolve his speech with a lot of the same name calling as his party uses. The names that are used to slander Republicans, and especially trump, are vicious and horribly fail the intellectual empathy test. Obama always carries himself as one with high character, He treats his opponents with respect, even when his opponents did exactly the opposite.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Powerball Redistribution Meme

1) Poverty: the $4 problem

If you haven't noticed, the math doesn't add up, but that didn't stop 904,000 people on Facebook from liking the meme anyway. Judging from the most recent comments, a lot of people take away that math education has gone down the tubes.

 I actually don't think so. I think that if the math was posed without the ideological content people wouldn't have made the mistake. Once the error is pointed out, almost anybody can figure out that each person receives a very small number. The problem is not that people couldn't do the math, but that only some were motivated to check it.

The way it works is as follows: if you favor redistribution then you like this meme, it seems right, and you don't have to exercise the least bit of skepticism towards it. You "like" and "share" it on Facebook so that the world can know that the end of poverty is one simple step away from greed and selfishness.

If you're opposed to redistribution then your first instinct is to find out what's wrong with it. Of course you double check the math, hazzah! it's wrong! now you can tell those redistributionist how stupid they all are.

If you're a redistributionist you read the comments criticizing the math of the meme. You double check it for yourself. Oh God, they're right! You conjure up a face-saving post in the comments about what it was really about.
"Clearly the lady that created this post picture was off.. But the point she was trying to make .. Spot on my people. Shed a tear like normal lol have a laugh for once ! Duhhhh the math doesn't equal guys want a correction award.
Point she was attempting to make is simple.. There's enough money to feed the people... Why is the world like it is. Her math was incorrect but I get it.
And then you get a few thousand Likes from others who were also caught not being careful around ideas they like. Good God that's an awful comment. Shed a tear? Feed the people? What nonsense.

2) Reasoning until we get what we want

Underlying my interpretation is an enormous amount of research on motivated reasoning. We humans  are apt to take confirming evidence at face value while subjecting disconfirming evidence to critical evaluation. We give evidence that confirms our biases the benefit of the doubt, and give evidence the disconfirms the burden of proof. When we don't want to believe it we ask why, and when we want to believe it we ask why not.

In one study subjects were preselected for their attitudes toward capital punishment, and then asked to read fictitious studies on the deterrence effect of capital punishment. Of course, when fictional pro-deterrence studies were used, people who were pro-capital punishment assessed that they were persuasive, and people who weren't were critical. When the same fictional study was presented with the opposite, anti-deterrence conclusion, opposite groups thought the study was well done or had methodological errors.

Too small of sample size, nonrandom sample selection, or inadequate controls for important variables were problems only when people wanted them to be.

Man that's a really bad comment. I can't get over that.