follow CCP

Recent blog entries
popular papers

Science Curiosity and Political Information Processing

What Is the "Science of Science Communication"?

Climate-Science Communication and the Measurement Problem

Ideology, Motivated Cognition, and Cognitive Reflection: An Experimental Study

'Ideology' or 'Situation Sense'? An Experimental Investigation of Motivated Reasoning and Professional Judgment

A Risky Science Communication Environment for Vaccines

Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government

Making Climate Science Communication Evidence-based—All the Way Down 

Neutral Principles, Motivated Cognition, and Some Problems for Constitutional Law 

Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus

The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Science Literacy and Climate Change

"They Saw a Protest": Cognitive Illiberalism and the Speech-Conduct Distinction 

Geoengineering and the Science Communication Environment: a Cross-Cultural Experiment

Fixing the Communications Failure

Why We Are Poles Apart on Climate Change

The Cognitively Illiberal State 

Who Fears the HPV Vaccine, Who Doesn't, and Why? An Experimental Study

Cultural Cognition of the Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology

Whose Eyes Are You Going to Believe? An Empirical Examination of Scott v. Harris

Cultural Cognition and Public Policy

Culture, Cognition, and Consent: Who Perceives What, and Why, in "Acquaintance Rape" Cases

Culture and Identity-Protective Cognition: Explaining the White Male Effect

Fear of Democracy: A Cultural Evaluation of Sunstein on Risk

Cultural Cognition as a Conception of the Cultural Theory of Risk

« Humans using statistical models are embarrassingly bad at predicting Supreme Court decisions.... | Main | More on Hameed's "Pakistani Dr" -- "explaining contradictory beliefs" begs the question »

"...but that just doesn't happen!..." Or: "Who is the 'Pakistani Dr' now?"--a fragment on the professional judgment of law professors

 From correspondence with a friend & collaborator of preternatural intelligence and critical reflection; in response to her rejection of a "proof," presented in the form of a computer simulation, of the "impossibility" of using "rules of evidence" to conform adversary adjudication to the goal of rational truth seeking:

Extravagance.  "Oh, but this just doesn't happen -- look at the cases!"  Really?  It's in the nature of the phenomenon not to be directly observable. If we are committed to rational truth seeking, we should be trying to figure out how to create observations of influences we wouldn't detect in the normal course but that in fact undermine our conclusions about what we are seeing.  In any case, everything I have ever observed (when I summon the will to observe; like you, like everyone else, I am trained not to) tells me that this is exactly what effective trial advocacy is about.  A trial is not a conveyor belt onto which pieces of evidence are added to be processed down the line by a Bayesian proof aggregator.  It is a violent struggle from the start to impose a narrative template, to which the factfinder can be expected to mold every piece of proof.  The forms of information processing that lawyers anticipate and jockey to grab hold of and point in the desired direction are hostile to accurate factfinding -- deeply hostile to it.  The idea that "trials work just fine, especially with a little fine tuning w/ rules of evidence that anticipate cognitive biases" is a 2nd order form of flawed information processing that occurs in those officially certified to play the role of critical examiners of the system; that they end up saying exactly that, moreover, helps to insulate the flaws even more securely from the truly unbearable realization that we are making people's lives depend on an arbitrary game.  Or in any case, this what I believe "at home"; "at work" I, too, believe the system is perfectly rational.


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>