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Author Topic:   Truth Lies & Uncertainty
Posts: 4500
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 4.7

Message 1 of 5 (861790)
08-26-2019 10:17 PM

The September 2019 Scientific American arrived today. In keeping with a long tradition the September issue is devoted to a single general topic. The cover title reads TRUTH LIES & UNCERTAINTY, Searching for Reality in Unreal Times.
A scientific analysis of the recent rise of false information being spread widely via the internet and social media would be interesting, but this may be about much more than that.
I personally feel that I am fairly accurate in my skeptical evaluation of information. It will be interesting to see if I still feel that way after I have read this issue.
Links and Information please.
Edited by Admin, : Change title to a link.

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python
One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie
If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy
The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by caffeine, posted 08-29-2019 7:31 AM Tanypteryx has not replied

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Message 2 of 5 (861792)
08-27-2019 4:11 AM

Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Truth Lies & Uncertainty thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

Posts: 22607
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.7

Message 3 of 5 (861800)
08-27-2019 10:12 AM

A Great Book in a Related Area
My issue of Scientific American also arrived yesterday, but I won't get to it for a while because I'm behind in my magazine reading. There's a stack of magazines about three inches high on my nightstand. I think I'm up to June.
I'm currently reading a book on a related topic, The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds. It's both a story and a primer on how people's thinking can be confounded, even when the correct answer is obvious.
An example. There's a large college whose student population breaks down into the various departments like this:
Business Administration41%
Woman's Studies1%
You're told Bob is a student at this college and asked what department he's most likely in. You'll guess Business Administration and have your best chance of being right.
But what if you're additionally told that Bob is very logical and organized and not very social. Now you'll guess Math and will most likely be wrong.
Or say you're instead told that Jill is a student at this college who is very active in women's rights and wants to run for Congress someday. Now you'll guess Woman's Studies and almost certainly be wrong.
The above demonstrates the power of soft facts (in this case, some personal information whose implications are ambiguous) to cause us to abandon hard ones (statistics).
Here's another example. There are two hospitals, one large, one small. On average 100 babies are born each day at the large hospital, only 10 at the small. The sex of the babies, on average, is 50/50 male/female. You're told that on one day at one of the hospitals that 60% of the babies were female and are asked whether it is more likely it was the large hospital, the small hospital, or could equally be either one.
The answer is that it is more likely the small hospital, since larger variations from the mean are more likely with smaller sample sizes.
The book was not written with politics in mind, and I'm trying to think how it might inform our current dilemma. I think it would be a lesson we're already familiar with, that constant chaos makes it difficult for people to focus on what is truly important.
Don't get put off by the fact that mathematical concepts are part of the story. This is a *very* entertaining book whose author also wrote Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Moneyball is also a great movie.

Member (Idle past 1105 days)
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008

Message 4 of 5 (861911)
08-29-2019 7:31 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tanypteryx
08-26-2019 10:17 PM

I personally feel that I am fairly accurate in my skeptical evaluation of information.
As do Pizzagaters and creationists.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tanypteryx, posted 08-26-2019 10:17 PM Tanypteryx has not replied

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 Message 5 by Stile, posted 08-29-2019 9:26 AM caffeine has not replied

Member (Idle past 124 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004

Message 5 of 5 (861914)
08-29-2019 9:26 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by caffeine
08-29-2019 7:31 AM

caffeine writes:
Tanypteryx writes:
I personally feel that I am fairly accurate in my skeptical evaluation of information.
As do Pizzagaters and creationists.
It's that time again!
Shame-less self-plug time! Yeah!!
I attempted a thread on this a while ago (10 years ago??
Losing Objectivity

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by caffeine, posted 08-29-2019 7:31 AM caffeine has not replied

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