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Skeptoid: Epic Cognitive Dissonance

‘Headache’ by Flickr user ‘TheRogue’

Rebecca at Skepchick has written a critique of Brian Dunning’s latest work. I originally heard the thing through the podcast feed, and it’s not quite as awful in audio-only. I groaned at most of it, chuckled a couple times, and assumed the style and execution was meant as a . . . → Read More: Skeptoid: Epic Cognitive Dissonance

On paradox and burden

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Science started out fairly modestly; with a collection of mostly wrong ideas that seemed plausible at the time. It has accreted and evolved over time to offer compelling and staggeringly consistent explanations for most of the observed universe.

There are still puzzle pieces that don’t fit perfectly: . . . → Read More: On paradox and burden

Your intuitions are not Magic

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From Less Wrong:

we need to study the cognitive sciences, figure out the way our intuitions work and how we might correct for mistakes. Above all, we need to learn to always question the workings of our minds, for we need to understand that they are not magical.

. . . → Read More: Your intuitions are not Magic

What sort of mirror?

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While composing this post on No Agenda Forums, an interesting problem came up. How can I show someone their own biases? They are obvious to me, but (by definition) the other person’s entire system of thinking is arranged in such a way as to find their biases valid.

After coming to . . . → Read More: What sort of mirror?

You make and break your own religion

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Note: I addressed the following essay to the general population of the No Agenda Forums, a community that I cherish despite frequent frustration. It is peopled by many conspiracy theorists and champions of various “alternative” things, such as alternative explanations, alternative medicine, etc. In short, people I cannot really reach on . . . → Read More: You make and break your own religion

More debate fail

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I love everything about this Skeptoid post, in which Brian makes great points about the peril of debating when the truth is on your side. It’s counter-intuitive on first consideration, but as I’ve mused previously, debating has relatively little to do with truth and mostly pivots on charisma and debate tactics . . . → Read More: More debate fail

That’s the story of my life

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I don’t have a lot to add to this excellent post about the narrative fallacy at lesswrong. Here are some great excerpts, to convince you to go read the whole thing:

Essentially, the narrative fallacy is our tendency to turn everything we see into a story – a linear chain of . . . → Read More: That’s the story of my life

Argument > Debate

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Debating

Like most sports, I’m not much good at debate. I say it’s a sport because it’s a competition with a winner and loser where the participants’ skills have the largest bearing on the outcome.

I think that most people casually lump debate and argument into the same mental bin; if . . . → Read More: Argument > Debate

The emotions of energy

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Hybrid fusion-fission energy generation a possibility via Futurismic.

Isn’t it interesting how this story swept through the internet? Everyone, of course, wants to get rid of nuclear waste right? Awful, evil stuff. Bury it in the earth if you have to. Making it disappear in a magic theoretical reactor is even . . . → Read More: The emotions of energy

A critical baseline

There are so many fallacies and biases that I can’t keep them straight, even though critical thinking is something I value highly. I’m not much good at debate, and although I’d love nothing more than to engender critical thinking and skepticism in others, I don’t have any good ideas on how to do that, . . . → Read More: A critical baseline