Re: Opinions as Evidence
Sun, 30 Mar 1997 23:11:42 -0500 (EST) (Robin Hanson) writes:

>I asked for examples of the following:
(various specific elements indicating persitent factual disagreement)

>Curt Adams said thought "everybody here" was "passably familiar with
>these issues enough so to say" that most of Michael Lorrey's list
>satisfied all of these conditions. Specifically, he included:

>>the Big Bang

>which I'm not aware has substantial disagreement.

Check out our religious friends on that one. I think it's about 40% of the


>which I'm not convinced here that most people do see as disputes over
>facts rather than values.

There are values here, yes (except not for SDI, I think). But with all of
them there remains substantial disagreement over whether they "work" i.e.
produce a successful society that meets basic goals like food, shelter,
security, etc. Lots of leftists hold up pre-Thatcherite England as an
example of how socialism "works" and post-Thatcherite England as an example
of how capitalism "doesn't work". Rightist generally do the opposite.

SDI was almost purely phrased as an arguement over whether it would "work"
i.e., stop enough nuclear warheads to reduce civilian casualties to at most
those typical of a major war. Interestingly, the opinions seemed to be
dependent almost solely on whether the opinioned believed it would be a good
thing for the US to be immune to nuclear blackmail. Those distrustful of the
US military almost always said it would fail; the rah-rah patriots almost
always said it would work. Hmmm.

>>JFK assasination
>>Roswell Incident
>>MLK assasination
>>The Philadelphia Experiment
>>the Rosenberg Trial
>>the Alger Hiss trial
>>Contragate (esp. Ollie North)

>where I know lots of people suspect foul play, but I'm sure most people
>really disagree on estimating the chances of such.

The point.

>I really think these three word titles are not a sufficient
>description of each dispute to evaluate their status regarding this
>issue. More details please.

Are you saying that you are *not* aware of at least major factual point in
each one that is seriously in dispute?

For JFK, I'd name the single bullet theory.

>>What evidence is there
>>that *any* people, never mind ordinary ones, act like good Bayesian agents,
>>apart from in science?

>With "like" being the key word, lots of evidence. But
it is a standard first approximation.

Can you provide me some references? I'm always open to evidence :-) but I've
never seen anything which assumed that people generally were - or even could
be - good Bayesian agents.