Re: Opinions as Evidence

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 13:53:44 -0800 (PST) writes:
>>"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.

The ability to read is not enough; one needs to understand the
concepts the words refer to. There is also a selection bias issue
here. Even if it were worth these people's time to go research these
particular issues you have identified, from these people's point of
view these issues are mixed in with hundreds of other issues which are
important to them, and where they suspect common practice is mistaken.
Should they go to the library to research *all* such questions?

Anyway, we have moved away from your claim that you can easily
generate examples to demonstrate the ubiquity of "opinion divergence
on matters of fact, where each side knows of the other's opinion".
Your only example so far is of religious fundamentalists, which still
leaves open the possiblity that aside from religious wackos, most of
us are reasonable people. A better example for your case might be the
OJ trial, though opinions on race come close to religion in many ways.

Robin D. Hanson