We all have ideas or concepts that exasperate us when they're brought up. Mine have changed over the years. When I was younger, anything that called into question certain ideas, such as the religious faith I was raised in, or the mantra of American patriotism, irritated me to no end. I tended to reject propositions … Continue reading Scrutinize what makes you angry
Julia Galef is the host of the podcast Rationally Speaking (which I've listened to for years and recommend). She's a rationalist concerned with improving the way she and others think. As a result, she often puts out material critiquing typical reasoning mistakes. As Sean Carroll pointed out recently when interviewing her, this tends to put … Continue reading The Scout Mindset
When learning a new idea or concept, often it doesn't make a lot of sense at first. The various descriptions may seem dubious, and we might fail to see the structural similarities that bind them. Then, at some point, if we keep at it and are lucky, we "get it", it "clicks", we have an … Continue reading Talking across the boundary of the epiphany
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