/ I now understand UKC threads

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bedspring on 08 Jan 2017
I have watched and got involved in UKC threads for years. I have seen the same people battling the same points for years
I have got to know through clues over the years that most of these people are highly intelligent, infact I have met many of these people and found that they are highly intelligent.
So I always wondered why two people could be so polar opposite and not even agree when clear facts were involved.
I then learnt about group think, which explained some of it. I then considered ideological perspectives. But I still thought these are really clever people, more than capable of critical thought, but they are still ignoring facts.
Then I listened to this http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04m7zrs WOW, this explains most of it. Well worth 40 mins of anyones time.
SenzuBean - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:

I've been thinking a lot about this myself. My thoughts are that we've not entered a 'post-truth' world, anymore than we just all became collectively aware of the 'post-truth' world we've always lived in and with that realization came the following one by some - that they could use it to their advantage (whereas before without knowing that people didn't care about facts, you had to be careful about your lies).
Previously you never had the choice to read the Russian perspective, or the Arabian one - now you do, and instantly too. You never knew there were multiple narratives because you only had access to one or two, that were probably from the same media company anyway.

At the same time, the foundations of science are experiencing an earthquake: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replication_crisis
Which combined with an already poor understanding of what science means by the general public - means that facts and experts really are suspect. not all of them of course - but how is a person who doesn't understand science to know? The moment they figure out that huge chunks of science are just wrong, is the moment they don't trust the rest either (and because they're not scientifically literate - trust is all they have, they can't read the papers to try and understand it for themselves). This monstrous problem is never acknowledged by educated folks, and I believe this is a serious fault. You simply never have scientific papers that say "yeah we don't have a clue, here's some data" - they have to come up with a hypothesis, and they have to say they found it to be definitively true or false. Smart members of the public are heard to say "the research proves X", when in reality - those claims just about never stand the test of time (at least in the softer sciences).

Lastly the things that we use to form 'proof' are becoming ever less reliable. Photographic proof is not far away from not being 'a thing' anymore (it has been fakeable for over 100 years, but I think we've reached a point where there are not many further advances to be made that can't be faked at the time they're released). Give it 10 years and video will follow. In 10-20 years you'll be able to "prove" any history, at an instant (the delay of evidence appearing has always been used as circumstantial evidence of tampering - but in the future it will be instantaneous, so that goes too). How would you prove that of two videos, both showing different things - that one is true and one is false? Even if you have 10 videos and 1 showing something else - is that majority enough? What if the majority was from a large company or government department who easily has those resources? How do you prove anything anymore? Either you'll need to amass an extremely huge amount of information that can show an inconsistency (far too much for an individual human brain to hold) or it just becomes trust on consensus and reputation. Anyway we have a few years before this problem becomes quite so stark, maybe we can find a solution - maybe not.
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Jim C - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:

Thanks, I switched off the TV ( and the wife kids dogs etc, and listened to the whole programme.

What it did tell me was by contributing to UKC I thought I was challenging my own 'truths, and not staying in a bubble of only those who shared my views on subjects ( but at the same time ) was I pushing my own 'truths' on others? ( or trying) either way on any particular subject there are no truths.

Even the scientists will tell you that scientifically 'proven' truths are only that until a better theory comes along, and it's even possible the same data that was used in support of the previous theory, is then 'reinterpreted' in support of the new theory along with new evidence. None if it is really ( or will ever be ) 100% 'true' , so political truths will never be 'proven' there are just too many variables.

I was thinking that if there were 3 castaways ( all happen to be economic experts let's say ) all marooned with no communication before, let's say Brexit.
One castaway arrived back in the UK one year post Brexit, one after five years and one after 10 years.
They are all then given all the relevant figures of that time, whatever they want to know , exchange rates, migration demographics even the economic forecasts, but none are given the political situation, they don't know what parties , or personalities are in power, in the UK or elsewhere, they don't know what countries are in the EU or even if there is still an EU.

Which, if any, would be able to pinpoint one particular possible cause of the UK being in whatever position they are presented with, whether it be boom or bust?

My guess is none of them.
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freeflyer - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:

Thanks very much for this link - fitted right into my echo bubble and I'll be watching out for Jo Fidgen in future.

I was impressed with Bob Inglis' comments on how he learned from his experiences failing to sell climate change to the Republicans: "it's very important to use the language of the tribe in reaching the tribe [...] we do all want a narrative that makes our heart sing".

Perhaps not earth-shaking, but easy to forget when confronted by someone I happen to disagree with.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:

Great link!

Obviously I'm not immune to the types of cognitive bias discussed, but I do at least spend some time listening to people I disagree with. Mainly because (apart from Charlie Brooker), I struggle to find anyone who actually talks any sense! For my sins, I've spent an unreasonable amount chewing over what Sam Harris says - someone I respect but who is politically pretty vile (in my world view) and openly in league with the devil (that's Douglas Murray). The way out of the echo chamber in this case was to find someone who you totally agree with on one subject, and when you feel you're on their side, listen to what they say about something else where you totally disagree. But of course, most public speakers are pretty predictable in their views...

Also, I found it highly amusing that people who score highly on "openness" are likely Lib Dem voters! Like voting Lib Dem is the political equivalent of bungee jumping or taking LSD...

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bedspring on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:

Glad you liked it. I have been trying to challenge my own views for a couple of years now, but it is really hard not to swing back to default.
Jon Stewart - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

To the person who disliked my post, what in the name of arse do you mean by clicking that button? Was it that I called Douglas Murray the devil, or that voting Lib Dem was like taking LSD that got your back up? Or did I make a grammatical error that irked you so?

I don't mind if you disagree, I'd just like to know what you disagree with!
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FactorXXX - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:

No one understands UKC threads and thinking that you do just proves it...
Jon Stewart - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

If you're expecting whole swathes of established science to be wrong, I guarantee disappointment.

Lots of individual experiments will prove difficult to replicate. But the meaningful conclusions drawn from massive amounts of evidence all combined - stuff like evolution, big bang, climate change - is solid as a rock. And if anyone's surprised that psychology doesn't provide reliable scientific laws, then a couple of moments reflecting on how unfathomably complex and largely unpredictable the human mind is should sort that misconception out. God help anyone who thinks that economics is a science!

I don't think there's much difficulty determining the truth where there are good tools to find out what the truth is. On the other hand if you take something like Donald Trump's bald assertion that the interference of Russia had no effect on the election result, then that's different: there is no way of knowing. We don't know how things would have otherwise panned out.

Almost all political views on how things work suffer from the same counterfactual problem. Did austerity fix or break the economy? We don't know, we don't know what would have happened if we'd done differently. Is the education system the root of the problem of unemployment in the North East? We don't know, we don't have a comparison.

I think it's important to distinguish clearly those places where the truth is accessible and real, like in climate change and evolution, and where there truth exists in some abstract sense but can't be uncovered, as in the world of policy. In the latter case, we can make inferences that are more or less well informed by more or less relevant evidence, but we'll never know the true answer of how best to fund healthcare, or how much the government should interfere in markets, or any other political issue.
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Siward on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:
Absolutely. I linked to this on the 'Decentralize Whiteness' thread a few days back:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=655874&v=1#x8467895

An awful lot of self evident sense on there, but my view was that UKC represents the antithesis of the sort of echo chambers discussed in the programme- it is full of disagreement and debate and all the better for it (to a point!).
Post edited at 11:32
DubyaJamesDubya - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> To the person who disliked my post, what in the name of arse do you mean by clicking that button? Was it that I called Douglas Murray the devil, or that voting Lib Dem was like taking LSD that got your back up? Or did I make a grammatical error that irked you so?

> I don't mind if you disagree, I'd just like to know what you disagree with!

I believe some people press the wrong button. Of course the dislikes you accrued after that is because you mentioned it.
First rule of dislike club is no one talks about dislike club.
SenzuBean - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> If you're expecting whole swathes of established science to be wrong, I guarantee disappointment.
> Lots of individual experiments will prove difficult to replicate. But the meaningful conclusions drawn from massive amounts of evidence all combined - stuff like evolution, big bang, climate change - is solid as a rock.

Entire fields of social and medical science are being thrown out of the window. Have a read of what's been chucked out - it's quite interesting for someone on the sidelines
I did emphasize the softer sciences, which is overwhelmingly what is used by lefties for policy thought. We often quote things like for example, 'science shows meaningful rehabilitation of prisoners is safer than just locking them up as cheaply as possible' - but since social science is on shaky ground, what can we meaningfully say on the subject now? Economics as you mention is a bedrock of modern policy (I agree it's not a hard science.) - but also has major flaws.
In terms of harder sciences - we have zero clue about dark matter and dark energy. All we have is a massive explanatory hole in the data that we used dark energy / dark matter to fudge over. Supersymmetry is almost dead as a theory - so we've got little clue. This is rarely acknowledged - as if it's a great shame to admit that we simply don't know, but might one day.

> I don't think there's much difficulty determining the truth where there are good tools to find out what the truth is.

What kind of tools though? As an example, I'm having a hard time figuring out whether the US or the Russian side of the Syrian conflict is more accurate. They're almost polar opposite, and without becoming an expert (I have a job, so that's not feasible) - I'm left to just trust one or the other. I'd have to read thousands of twitter accounts of individuals who live in Aleppo to figure out or something like that.

> Almost all political views on how things work suffer from the same counterfactual problem. Did austerity fix or break the economy? We don't know, we don't know what would have happened if we'd done differently. Is the education system the root of the problem of unemployment in the North East? We don't know, we don't have a comparison.

I agree. But I think there are meaningful answers to these questions - but we haven't really got the ability to use them. There are properties of chaotic systems (mathematical systems) that are totally unpredictable (such as the future state at time t), but there are also properties that are totally predictable - such as what percentage of future states are in the secondary orbit plane. This type of analysis I think would give important answers. Same with markov chains - we can give some very concrete answers, and others we cannot say at all.

> I think it's important to distinguish clearly those places where the truth is accessible and real, like in climate change and evolution, and where there truth exists in some abstract sense but can't be uncovered, as in the world of policy.

Well again - these problems are more nuanced than you make out. How do you prove climate change is real, to an individual who isn't well versed in science? We can show data and graphs, but without the scientific understanding - there's no way to discern the actual truth. Who made the data and the graphs - can they be trusted? That's when heuristics such as "who would have the most to benefit, is probably lying the most", "who seems the shadiest" come in.
In terms of evolution - it's not a complete theory of life. We have only a rough sketch of how abiogenesis might've occurred - and only circumstantial evidence. Most moderate christians agree with evolution - but they are also keen to explain the beginning of life, which evolution cannot do at the moment. The truth is we have only guesses as to how abiogenesis might've occurred - and it's this that I feel is the most contentious issue. I cannot count the number of times I've seen 'educated people' try and explain that evolution explains everything.
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galpinos on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

> In terms of harder sciences - we have zero clue about dark matter and dark energy. All we have is a massive explanatory hole in the data that we used dark energy / dark matter to fudge over.

I don't have time to respond to everything so I'll cherry pick one line out of context......

This is quite fundamental, in this case (and many others) this absence of knowledge is accepted, discussed and seen as something we need to figure out. It's not taken as gospel that it's just "Dark Matter/Energy" and we'll leave it at that. Within most of the hard scientific community, there is an acknowledgement that all theories are just that, theories! they are our best guesses until someone come along with a better guess.
SenzuBean - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to galpinos:

> I don't have time to respond to everything so I'll cherry pick one line out of context......

> This is quite fundamental, in this case (and many others) this absence of knowledge is accepted, discussed and seen as something we need to figure out. It's not taken as gospel that it's just "Dark Matter/Energy" and we'll leave it at that. Within most of the hard scientific community, there is an acknowledgement that all theories are just that, theories! they are our best guesses until someone come along with a better guess.

You have taken it right out of context - my context is 'educated laypeople', not the scientists doing the real work - who I agree will be the first to tell you exactly how it is.
galpinos on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

Fair point. I'll spot skim reading threads when I sHould be working.....
malk - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to Lenin:

Ever since I was a youth
I've always been searching for the truth
Having been told so many lies
Life like good music never dies...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAvkavgKsk0

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