Notes on Thinking

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  This is for notes on thinking. 

To believe something means to be willing to take action based on it.

What makes people believe in something?

1. Observation. With their own senses, they learn it.

2. Authority. They hear it from somebody they trust. This includes newspapers and books as well as people directly.

3. Reason. They deduce that something must be true.


What's Wrong with Social Science and How to Fix It: Reflections After Reading 2578 Papers Sep 11, 2020 by Alvaro de Menard. He says:

Criticizing bad science from an abstract, 10000-foot view is pleasant: you hear about some stuff that doesn't replicate, some methodologies that seem a bit silly. "They should improve their methods", "p-hacking is bad", "we must change the incentives", you declare Zeuslike from your throne in the clouds, and then go on with your day.

But actually diving into the sea of trash that is social science gives you a more tangible perspective, a more visceral revulsion, and perhaps even a sense of Lovecraftian awe at the sheer magnitude of it all: a vast landfill—a great agglomeration of garbage extending as far as the eye can see, effluvious waves crashing and throwing up a foul foam of p=0.049 papers. As you walk up to the diving platform, the deformed attendant hands you a pair of flippers. Noticing your reticence, he gives a subtle nod as if to say: "come on then, jump in".


Andrew Gelman says:

Statistics does not require randomness. The three essential elements of statistics are measurement, comparison, and variation. Randomness is one way to supply variation, and it’s one way to model variation, but it’s not necessary. Nor is it necessary to have “true” randomness (of the dice-throwing or urn-sampling variety) in order to have a useful probability model.


Suicide of the Liberals in First Things:

In one memorable scene, the hero of ­Solzhenitsyn’s novel November 1916, Colonel Vorotyntsev, finds himself at a social gathering principally of Kadet adherents, where everyone repeats the same progressive pieties. He soon grasps that “each of them knew in advance what the others would say, but that it was imperative for them to meet and hear all over again what they collectively knew. They were all overwhelmingly certain that they were right, yet they needed these exchanges to reinforce their certainty.”