« Episode 1.7: Characteristics of Good Critical Thinking | Main | Episode 1.9: Understanding Conspiracy Theories »



Adam Frank

Hey wanted to say I've been really enjoying the episodes always, and especially lately. It's a much needed lesson.

One thing that I find with bad reasoners is that they often don't want to lay down their principles of reasoning in advance of evidence. I recall talking to Trumpists before the election, and long story short I tried to get them to commit to principles of how to infer causation, what kinds of theories have what prior probabilities, and so on. And they just reviled the idea of having to commit to principles which they would later be held accountable to.

In a similar thread, I recall hearing or thinking of how people love to make confident pronouncements and predictions ... until they have something to lose. An easy way to induce this is to put bets down with agreed measurable standards of success or failure. You find that conspiracy theorists suddenly don't have the courage of their convictions when you make them make predictions they'll be accountable to. But if money sounds a little like grifting, you can just keep a record of prediction success and failure. The problem here is that they can just stop talking to you if you decide they have a negative track record. And they can keep selling their bunk to people who don't keep track.

Anyway, just sharing hopefully interesting thoughts and fundamental agreement, support, and appreciation for the podcast!

Best wishes.

The Navigator


Thanks a lot for your comment. I think Freakonomics did something with Tetlock a few years back where they did a sort of ARPA prediction market that came out with a lot fo really interesting results. By and large they replicated Tetlock's original work but found additional effects once there was a reward/incentive structure added.

I agree with you that perhaps once of the best practices a good critical thinker can have is some sort of assessment/evaluation metric to check and see how they did and how they can improve. I need to add that to my list of characteristics of good critical thinking.

Thanks for continuing to remain a part of the Crew and I hope you are well. Full Sails!

The comments to this entry are closed.