Thursday, April 14, 2022

Checking in................

.......................with Tim Harford.  Some snippets from The Data Detective: Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics: 

Much of what we think of as cultural differences turn out to be differences in income.

It’s a rather beautiful discovery: in a world where so many people seem to hold extreme views with strident certainty, you can deflate somebody’s overconfidence and moderate their politics simply by asking them to explain the details. Next time you’re in a politically heated argument, try asking your interlocutor not to justify herself, but simply to explain the policy in question.

A hammer looks like a useful tool to a carpenter; the nail has a different impression altogether.

Ten rules of thumb are still a lot for anyone to remember, so perhaps I should try to make things simpler. I realize that these suggestions have a common thread—a golden rule, if you like. Be curious.

So the problem is not the algorithms, or the big datasets. The problem is a lack of scrutiny, transparency, and debate.

But we can and should remember to ask who or what might be missing from the data we’re being told about.

trust is easy to throw away and hard to regain.

Neuroscientific studies suggest that the brain responds in much the same anxious way to facts that threaten our preconceptions as it does to wild animals that threaten our lives.

I worry about a world in which many people will believe anything, but I worry far more about one in which people believe nothing beyond their own preconceptions.

Not asking what a statistic actually means is a failure of empathy, too.

The good stories are everywhere. They are not made memorable by their rarity; they are made forgettable by their ubiquity.

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