At Aeon, Nevin Climenhaga makes some interesting points about probability. After describing different interpretations of probability, one involving the frequency with which an event will occur, another involving its propensity to occur, and a third involving our confidence it will occur, he describes how, given a set of identical facts, each of these interpretations can … Continue reading Probability is relative
Nathaniel Stein has an interesting article at Aeon, The why of reality: The easy question came first, a few months after my son turned four: ‘Are we real?’ It was abrupt, but not quite out of nowhere, and I was able to answer quickly. Yes, we’re real – but Elsa and Anna, two characters from Frozen, … Continue reading Why are we real?
Aeon is currently highlighting articles from throughout 2018 that are editor favorites. This morning, they highlighted one by Gloria Origgi, Say goodbye to the information age: it’s all about reputation now: There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that … Continue reading We entered the reputation age a long time ago
In the discussion on the last post on measurement, the definition of knowledge came up a few times. That's dredged up long standing thoughts I have about knowledge, which I've discussed with some of you before, but that I don't think I've ever actually put in a post. The ancient classic definition of knowledge is … Continue reading What is knowledge?
I have to say that this is along the lines of what I think about when people confidently assert the existence of the multiverse, their favorite interpretation of quantum physics, or any other metaphysical assertion. via xkcd: Squirrel Plan.
Worried the world is going to hell in a handbasket? You'll feel better after watching this video, and also get some insight into why you might have thought it was. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm5xF-UYgdg Watching this video also reminded me of something I learned years ago, not to trust numbers given in isolation. Whenever I hear about the … Continue reading Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world
Click through for full sized version. via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. This strip reminds me of something I heard someone say in a presentation on communication strategies several years ago. It was a concept the speaker referred to as "the curse of knowledge". The curse of knowledge is the idea that when you know something, it is … Continue reading SMBC: The curse of knowledge
Last week was scientism week at Scientia Salon, and I reblogged a post by Coel Hellier on a defense of scientism, mostly by arguing that mathematics was actually part of science. As I indicated in my comment on that reblog, while I agree with Coel that both logic and mathematics have foundations that are empirically … Continue reading Is logic and mathematics part of science?
So, I'm a skeptic, and I've had my share of debates on comment threads with people about purported phenomena without scientific evidence. One of the claims often asserted is that so many people have experienced it, there must be something there. It's not unusual for these debates to get mired in epistemological fights about how … Continue reading How do you separate the objective from the subjective?
Eric Schwitzgebel is reading Stannis Lem's novel 'Solaris' and discovers in the novel a test of the existence of the external world: I instructed the satellite to give me the figure of the galactic meridians it was traversing at 22-second intervals while orbiting Solaris, and I specified an answer to five decimal points. Then I sat … Continue reading Proof that the external world exists?