Re: Opinions as Evidence

Thu, 27 Mar 1997 15:07:15 -0500 (EST) (Robin Hanson) writes:
>curt adams writes:

>>...Many of the elements I quoted involve information which is quite easy to
>>research and which is genuinely relevant to ordinary people. My point is
>>that people generally do not act like good Bayesian agents in usual
>>circumstances. ...

>>So you admit that they are doing well with the info they have
>>immediately available, but that they are non-Bayesian regarding the
>>amount of research they do?

No. Most people pick up opinions from family, friends, media, or natural
human bias and then look for evidence to confirm it. That's not a Bayesian
process. Bayesian inference requires unbiased data.

>"Easy to research" is relative to your
>education level, and its not at all clear to me that most people would
>be well-advised to go do more research on questions like this.

You must not have many friends with no savings (from not paying attention to
the Social Security business) and underwater in their houses (from not paying
attention to where the money goes or the variability of real estate prices).
I do. You must not know people who blow large amounts of money on gambling
tables. I do. Being wrong on the issues I mentioned is a serious detriment,
except for perhaps the age of the earth.

We may be disagreeing on how easy it is to research. It is relative to
educational level, but anybody with a junior high education should be able to
read and use a library catalogue and that's all I think these require.