Re: Opinions as Evidence
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 20:41:34 -0500 (EST) (Robin Hanson) writes:

> also writes:
>>Persistent divergence is downright ubiquitous. The obvious conclusion
>>is that most if not all people do not use even a passable
>>approximation of Bayesian inference.

>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. 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.

Further, look at the vehemence with which people defend their religious and
political views. Generally speaking, these aren't matters of fact as
evidence is scanty, but people sure act like they are. You're currently
arguing with some of the list anarchists over just such an issue.