Re: No AI for Nano/No Nano for copyloads

From: Jeff Davis (
Date: Sat Jul 15 2000 - 13:27:52 MDT


Curt Adams commented:
>>People can and do deny the obvious. Something like 40% of Americans believe
>>the world was created in a big "poof" 6000 years ago.
Robin Hanson responds, effectively supporting the original comment, with:
>Since I have the stat handy, in 1999 Gallup found that 47% in US believe God
>created humans in basically their present form in the last 10,000 years or

This feels to me like the way bad information gets proliferated. Robin
refers to his factoid as "the" stat, giving the unwarranted impression that
Curt's "poof" creationism is on "solidly corroborated" ground. But Robin's
description of the Gallup information is only somewhat similar to Curt's
"big poof" formulation, and the details of the questioning by Gallup which
resulted in the "47% believe" factoid--those details are unavailable.
Considering the general disrepute of polling statistcs, all we're offered
here is mental pollution.

The Gallup stats may simply reflect that people have heard of Neanderthals
and Cromagnons--pre-modern humans who lived, what?, 20, 50, 100,000 years
ago, that they generally believe that modern civilization and with it
modern man, began about 10,000 years ago, and that the question "Where did
it all came from?" is answered conventionally with god.

If polling stats have some entertainment value, and tend to publicize and
promote Gallup's polling business, then a juicy "people are stupid" polling
result which is at the same time a "stroker" for the Christian multitude,
is a rational goal. I bet if I put together a clever questionnaire, and
used the proper polling technique, I could prove statistically that people
are endowed with Socratic wisdom.

The minute polling stats go public, the intent becomes the manipulation of
public opinion, and their factual credibility evaporates. At which point
it's caveat emptor.
Crap belongs in the crapper, not in your brain.

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

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