Re: Opinions as Evidence

Robin Hanson (
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 20:33:26 -0800 (PST) writes:
>>Is opinion divergence on matters of fact, where each side knows of the
>>other's opinion, really ubiquitious among ordinary people?
>Well, yes, it is ubiquitous. For starters, a large percentage of the US
>population believes the Bible is *literally* true, including such patently
>ridiculous ideas as the world being created only 6,000 years ago.

This is your best example. Here one is tempted to postulate broken
cognitive processes.

>Most people think that a die is less likely to come up 6 if it has
>come up 6's the last 3 times. Many people think that the Social
>Security Trust fund is significant when compared with Social
>Security's debt. Most people think that when they buy a house they're
>"building equity", when in reality 98% of what they pay goes to the
>bank. Most people believe that the greatest danger to their children
>is posed by strangers (when children are molested, kidnapped or
>killed, it's almost always friends or family). I could go on forever
>like this.

These are cases where the public thinks one thing, and experts think
another. Here it is not clear that the public knows of the expert's
opinion. Without that, it is not an example of the phenomena at issue.

Robin D. Hanson