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Monday
Sep042017

Long weekend reading: on MS2R & fake news

Authors find less not more receptivity to fake news among most cognitively proficient (M Turk) subjects. What does this tell us about "motivated system 2 reasoning"(MS2R)?

 

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What does this tell us about "motivated system 2 reasoning"(MS2R)?

That even Yale Profs can fall victim. What do I win for nailing the correct answer?

September 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

@Jonathan-- which Yale professors, me or the authors?

I wrote a paper, which they cite, in which I said I wasn't sure what the answer would be but based on extrapolation I was guessing that those highest in cogntive proficiency would probably be overrepresented in ranks of those who read & share.

But if their contrary findings are right, it doesn't bother me in the least.

Biggest problem for their paper, though, is that we can't be sure what the CRT scores were of people who consumed fake news in the real world. ONly a teeny tiny fraction were actually exposed to the study; the demographic heterogeneity of P&R sample might not be typical of the small cohort who actually engaged in the conduct we are interested in.

Oh-- if they had gotten opposite regults, I'm sure they would have been happy to announce that. It's a good study design b/c multiple competing hypothes are pit against one anotehr rather than only 1 being tested against the null.

September 4, 2017 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

"which Yale professors, me or the authors?"

Difficult to tell. My BS detector is pointing towards New Haven. Maybe Pepe's pizza isn't as good as the reviews?

"the demographic heterogeneity of P&R sample might not be typical of the small cohort who actually engaged in the conduct we are interested in."

Or, maybe real vs. fake news is not similar psychologically to good vs. bad science? In other words, fake news is designed to fool a particular large (low CRT, low bullshit detection) cohort, while bad science is targeted at a completely different (high CRT, high bullshit detection) cohort. Hence high CRT & bullshit detection might work very well for media truth discernment but not well for science truth discernment.

In other words, all Yale Profs are right (and Pepe's pizza is just not that great).

September 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

To the extent that my skepticism that ideology is generically predetermined is not scientifically justifiable, but the product of motivated reasoning (in not acknowledging that is true, only recognizing the possibility), this might help explain why - because overconfidence in understanding those dynamics can be leveraged by those who motivated to produce what we can see here :

https://youtu.be/6G59zsjM2UI?t=959

September 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

Thanks for that youtube link. While I understand the caution about overconfidence, I don't connect the dots to get to skepticism. There is a difference between dangerous and false, and there is a danger in not understanding this difference (the post-modernists, who Peterson and Weinstein bash considerably in the video, deny "false" and "true" and just claim "danger" (to those not in power from those in power)).

For example, consider how you would argue anthropogenic climate change vs. a free market libertarian who denies it. Their argument might be - as some of Dan's experiments with geoengineering suggest - that it's false because it is dangerous to what they perceive as a vitally important interest. I suspect you might point out that the potential economic hardship they forecast does not imply "false", or even provide a proper intellectual basis for skepticism.

However, in their case as well as yours, dangers do need to be pointed out (one of the most important things anyone can do for society - boy-who-cried-wolf notwithstanding) - the issue is how to point out the danger, as well as rally for its recognition publicly, that doesn't interfere with our ability to point out (or fight off) other dangers. I think one issue with us humans is that this is Really Friggin' Hard, perhaps because throughout history danger #1 on the list tended to be way more important than dangers #2 through #N - something which may not be so true today, when we face many simultaneous existential dangers.

You may not believe Peterson and Weinstein are on firm footing scientifically, and I can understand how that would lead to (and involve) skepticism. I could even see you arguing that, although you agree with them scientifically (or at least don't disagree), that they should not be sharing this knowledge publicly (you may believe that not all truths are safely consumable in the public sphere, and that this might be one such dangerous truth), or that they need to be cautious about properly sharing it (as they themselves acknowledge with that line about "white lies and black truths"), or that the implications of their science are not as they suggest (due to weakness or otherwise). But dangerous does not imply false.

I would have loved to have been able to pose this to Peterson and Weinstein: although I recognize the Naturalist Fallacy that "natural" does not imply "good" (as they affirm), that does not imply that "good" is thus disconnected from and capable of balancing against "natural". In the purely naturalist world, "good" is a subcategory of "natural", and so is "meta-good" (the process by which the "good" is separated from the rest of the "natural"), and so on.

September 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I should also point out (after watching that video) that "Pepe's Pizzeria" in New Haven (http://www.pepespizzeria.com/) is a real Connecticut cultural icon and has nothing to do with white nationalists, frogs or memes. The closest it comes is their white (no tomato) pizza with clams, which some swear is the best thing ever. However, as a native born New Yawker, I am culturally incapable of admitting the superiority of any non NY pizza - obviously because such pizza can't possibility exist. I mean, we'd next be talking about married bachelors and square circles...

September 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

link drop:
https://phys.org/news/2017-09-unplanned-fox-news-viewing-likelihood.html

September 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

Of course, it is unusual for me to be skeptical about Peterson, as since NiV explained previously, he is just another one of those librul academics who can't see anything deeply because he is so limited by his ideological blinders. :-)


I am skeptical because the clip is full of many just-so stories, and unaware tribalism complaining about blind tribalism. But more specifically, some of the stuff about biological differences is so overdrawn and so overconfident, it just makes me skeptical of it as a general principle. If people who are looked to as thought leaders on these issues can be so bad on these issues, then it leads me to double down in my skepticism that people really even have a clue about how to draw a line between environmental and biological influences.

Just consider one example of many. Peterson says that 5% of two year old boys are "biologically hyper-aggressive," and that's because of their "biological programming." HTF does he know that? How does he dismiss any possibility that any of their temperament is environmentally influenced before the age of 2?

It isn't that I think that the basic concept is irrational, but that the sloppiness engenders skepticism.

And then he describes what he calls a "biological problem" (meaning example, really), that on average, women are more agreeable than men. Really? How does he know that is "biological" in nature?

There is a difference between dangerous and false, and there is a danger in not understanding this difference (the post-modernists, who Peterson and Weinstein bash considerably in the video, deny "false" and "true" and just claim "danger" (to those not in power from those in power)).

You can slippery slope pretty much anything - and you can certainly slipper slope the problem of people confusing dangerous with false. IMO, Peterson and Weinstein are guilty of what they complain about, and they justify poor arguments by going reductio ad absurdum (although I don't doubt there may be extreme examples). Peterson even goes so far as to assign causality to Nazi marchers in Charlottesville to left wing campus snowfakes.

It isn't that I think that they don't have a point, but that they overdraw their point. In so doing, not only do they miscast the "other" in order to bolster their views, but they also ignore the "danger" of their own exaggeration.

However, in their case as well as yours, dangers do need to be pointed out (one of the most important things anyone can do for society - boy-who-cried-wolf notwithstanding) - the issue is how to point out the danger, as well as rally for its recognition publicly, that doesn't interfere with our ability to point out (or fight off) other dangers.

I agree. And in line with that, I am critical of how they go about it. It is particularly ironic, IMO, that Peterson acknowledges the problematic nature of his "SJW" rants, in that it fits into the tribalistic modality, but is completely clueless as to how to sidestep that problem.

I think one issue with us humans is that this is Really Friggin' Hard, perhaps because throughout history danger #1 on the list tended to be way more important than dangers #2 through #N - something which may not be so true today, when we face many simultaneous existential dangers.

This part of what I find problematic in their discussion. They come up with a hierarchical matrix of the problems which, IMO, is arbitrary.

You may not believe Peterson and Weinstein are on firm footing scientifically, and I can understand how that would lead to (and involve) skepticism. I could even see you arguing that, although you agree with them scientifically (or at least don't disagree), that they should not be sharing this knowledge publicly (you may believe that not all truths are safely consumable in the public sphere, and that this might be one such dangerous truth),

Hmm. I can't see myself saying that they shouldn't share it in the public sphere, whether I agree with them or not.

or that they need to be cautious about properly sharing it

Yes, I believe that they should be cautious about properly sharing it. Not because I see them as creating harm by being incautious. but because I see it as sloppy and as shallow tribalism.

But dangerous does not imply false.

Sure. But half truths or shallow analysis presented in an overconfident manner as "truth," so as to confirm biases and support tribalism, while not exactly "false" are close to false. As to whether or not they are "dangerous," that depends far to much on context for me to accept such a generalization. It feels more like a platitude to me.

I would have loved to have been able to pose this to Peterson and Weinstein: although I recognize the Naturalist Fallacy that "natural" does not imply "good" (as they affirm), that does not imply that "good" is thus disconnected from and capable of balancing against "natural". In the purely naturalist world, "good" is a subcategory of "natural", and so is "meta-good" (the process by which the "good" is separated from the rest of the "natural"), and so on.

Gonna have to chew on that for a while.

September 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Just consider one example of many. Peterson says that 5% of two year old boys are "biologically hyper-aggressive," and that's because of their "biological programming." HTF does he know that? How does he dismiss any possibility that any of their temperament is environmentally influenced before the age of 2?

That's an interesting example, because they use it to defend the point that biology, even if it is doing such things, doesn't permanently determine that behavior. The punch line here is that a few years later, you can't distinguish the formerly hyper-aggressive from the rest. The effect is gone. My impression is that, even though he didn't say it (and perhaps he should have), Peterson was intentionally exaggerating his belief of the strength of that initial 5% result, just so knocking it over in the next moment would be more rhetorically effective (an effect even more increased, quite sympathetically, when the host says "that's me!"). After all, this was a podcast show, not a science journal paper.

Despite that, there were other cases where they undermined the perceived strength of essentialist results - such as when discussing IQ twin studies: Not enough of those identical twins, and they look the same (so maybe socialize successfully or not due to treatment received due to their appearance), etc. Also how nearly impossible it is, regardless of one's biological super powers, to raise oneself by ones bootstraps out of poverty.

But this leaves aside why you doubt the possibility of biological essentialism. In my own case, I can feel the pull of the blank slate ideal, with its underwriting of equality and compassion for all. Peterson and Weinstein do an excellent job of robbing that ideal of some important gloss (citing the strange bedfellow mashup of Marxism and postmodernism) even without offering scientific details supporting essentialism in this podcast.

September 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonthan -

The punch line here is that a few years later, you can't distinguish the formerly hyper-aggressive from the rest.

I could go back and watch again, but I doubt that's the case. I think the point is that there is the potential to mitigate or eliminate the characteristics through environment, not that it necessarily dissolves on its own.

Related:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923092030.htm

The pre- and postnatal environment could cause these differences in biomarkers associated with chronic aggression,” Szyf added. Various studies conducted with animals show that hostile environments during pregnancy and early childhood have an impact on gene methylation and gene programming leading to problems with brain development, particularly in regard to the control of aggressive behaviour.

After all, this was a podcast show, not a science journal paper.

Sure. But for me, the irony is striking. Peterson talks about how in these volatile times, little mistakes can have outsized impact. The talk a lot of the importance of not over-generalizing. They complain about tribalism. And they acknowledge the thin line between biological determinism and eugenics. And then Peterson walks up to the line and carelessly (or actually, maybe deliberately) throws out an imprecise generalization, of the exact sort that engenders over-the-top "You're a Nazi" responses, and then they go on and on about the dangers or tribalism. Peterson talks about the problem if tribal identification, and talks of thinking about how not to exacerbate the problem, but then seems bizarrely clueless (for someone so smart) about how what he does is exactly what exacerbates the problem.

Like when he blames left wing campus radicals (clawing out territory) for Charlottesville. Or when he dismisses what happened at Google as a simple situation of someone getting fired for expressing an opinion (at least he acknowledges, somewhat reluctantly, that it was an "imperfect" opinion).

But isolating examples isn't my point. My point is the pattern. And part of the pattern is a lack of counterexamples, where they interrogate the "naysayer" for their broad and sweeping generalities.

Despite that, there were other cases where they undermined the perceived strength of essentialist results

(I didn't get to that part)...but I didn't mean to suggest that they are hard core existentialists. I think they're smarter than that. They also decry the far right.

September 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

https://youtu.be/NhPUxmrQqS0

September 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Here we go. The danger to our culture from radical Leftists who value nothing but power and who want to systematically dismantle western civilization as we know it cannot be overstated

https://youtu.be/wLoG9zBvvLQ

This is what leads to the kind of sloppiness and overconfidence that I was pointing to. Notwithstanding that they are discussing a spectrum of views that is important to examine, there is an inherent vulnerability in these discussions to use alarmism and fear-mongering and to exploit slippery slope logic and straw men and reductio ad absurdum and tribalism and demonizing to construct blinders and to just present a mirror image if extremism on the other side. That is why, IMO, diligence is a prerequisite, and a failure in due diligence, for me, taints the very endeavor to try to trace out a fine-grained line of demarcation between nature and nurture.

I recognize that there is a fallacy in what I'm saying. Just because some people are suspiciously silent on the potential impact of their own biases in some areas doesn't imply that all people are pushing bias, but the very nature of the biology vs environment dichotomy, or of theories about the social logic and implications of evolution, are so obviously prone to bias, like a blank screen on which people can project their favorite images, or like a Rorschach test, that I have a very hard time in not being suspicious.

And so I remain unimpressed when people don't go out of their way to offer caveats and dispel, with evidence, obvious naysayers, such as htf do they reach such levels of certainty?

They act as if these issues don't reside on a spectrum, where elements of differing perspectives should be treated, as a baseline condition, to at least have the potential of a shred of truth. They act like these issues, such as the appropriate boundaries of free speech, or examination of the interplay between power imbalance and identity have no place in the discourse. Again, IMO, they present a mirror image of what they are so alarmed about. And what they are alarmed about is indeed, in an abstract sense, something to be concerned about. But they never entertain, in a deep manner, in a way I can see, the possibility that they are allowing their own biases to exaggerate the danger and magnitude and structure of the problem. And the lack of such happens in big ways, such as the real and present danger can't be overstated (which, IMO, more or less completely ignores the arc of history), or little ways, such as 2 year old boys are biologically programmed to be hyper-aggressive and Charlottesville happened because left wing campus snowflakes.

I followed the Peterson clips to one from Ben Shapiro (it's raining today and I had planned to work outside) where he lectures in defense of Peterson, where Shapiro completely rejects the very possibility that there is any such thing as white privilege in the U. S.

September 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"And so I remain unimpressed when people don't go out of their way to offer caveats and dispel, with evidence, obvious naysayers, such as htf do they reach such levels of certainty?"

How do you know with such certainty that they're wrong?

"And the lack of such happens in big ways, such as the real and present danger can't be overstated (which, IMO, more or less completely ignores the arc of history), or little ways, such as 2 year old boys are biologically programmed to be hyper-aggressive and Charlottesville happened because left wing campus snowflakes."

The arc of history presents many extremely bloody examples of it happening before. Again, how do you know with such certainty that they're wrong?

--

Anyway. Link drop...
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=divhhP_kmMUC&pg=134#v=onepage&q&f=false

September 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

"And so I remain unimpressed when people don't go out of their way to offer caveats and dispel, with evidence, obvious naysayers, such as htf do they reach such levels of certainty?

They act as if these issues don't reside on a spectrum, where elements of differing perspectives should be treated, as a baseline condition, to at least have the potential of a shred of truth. They act like these issues, such as the appropriate boundaries of free speech, or examination of the interplay between power imbalance and identity have no place in the discourse. Again, IMO, they present a mirror image of what they are so alarmed about. And what they are alarmed about is indeed, in an abstract sense, something to be concerned about. But they never entertain, in a deep manner, in a way I can see, the possibility that they are allowing their own biases to exaggerate the danger and magnitude and structure of the problem."

I was just reading that bit again about not offering caveats, and suddenly realised what it reminded me of.

Mblockquote>On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

The claim is that you need to drop the caveats and express yourself with more certainty than is scientifically justified in order to be "effective". Does Schneider's "double ethical bind" explain why advocates for a particular political policy like Peterson act as they do? Are they any less justified, in their own terms, than the climate scientists?

Do climate campaigners entertain, in any way we can all see, the possibility that they are allowing their own biases to exaggerate the danger and magnitude and structure of the problem? How do you know with such certainty that elements of differing perspectives (like climate sceptics) shouldn't be treated, as a baseline condition, to at least have the potential of a shred of truth?

Funny, isn't it? It's almost as if some people present a mirror image of what they are so alarmed about. :-)

September 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

How do you know with such certainty that they're wrong?

Wrong about what? Anyway, I'm not certain that they're wrong about anything in particular.


The arc of history presents many extremely bloody examples of it happening before. Again, how do you know with such certainty that they're wrong?

I don't. But in my assessment, the current trajectory is probably in a positive direction, overall - so the alarmism stikes me as pretty drama-queenish. I'd be in (contextualized) quantified data showing otherwise - however it is rather notable that they don't present any to support their alarmism. Not to say that in the abstract they aren't speaking to real problems, or that those problems don't exist to any extent.

September 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"Wrong about what?"

"And the lack of such happens in big ways, such as the real and present danger can't be overstated (which, IMO, more or less completely ignores the arc of history), or little ways, such as 2 year old boys are biologically programmed to be hyper-aggressive and Charlottesville happened because left wing campus snowflakes."

"Anyway, I'm not certain that they're wrong about anything in particular. "

Oh. OK. It was the impression I got - you said it as if such suggestions were too ridiculous for words.

"But in my assessment, the current trajectory is probably in a positive direction, overall - so the alarmism stikes me as pretty drama-queenish."

There are black-clad 'revolutionary communist' rioters running around America attacking people in the streets, apparently with the tacit approval of the authorities. Whether that's a 'positive' direction depends on which side you're on, I guess.

However, in this case it's just that you have a difference of opinion. They think there's a problem. You don't. Neither of you are basing that opinion on much, if any, hard data. And one of you is putting the burden of proof on those 'drama-queens' claiming it will, while the other puts it on those 'complacent fellow travellers and 'useful idiots'' claiming it won't.

People outside scientific circles routinely express their opinions with certainty, and don't bother to give data every time where they think the statement is either obvious or a part of the group's core beliefs. (Most of the audience have already seen plenty of evidence. They regard it as obvious.) Both sides do it. But you only seem to see it when the other side does it.

September 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

There are black-clad 'revolutionary communist' rioters running around America attacking people in the streets, apparently with the tacit approval of the authorities. Whether that's a 'positive' direction depends on which side you're on, I guess.


Jesus. This isn't that complicated - especially since we've been down this road before. The question is one of signal and noise. It's really quite remarkable that you pick out specific phenomena and use them to doomsay about the overall trajectory without grounding them in context. Saying that I think that the overall trend is in a positive direction doesn't equate to saying that all developments are positive. And yes, bad things have happened in the past, and it's entirely possible that we're heading down the road to tyranny, and that what we're seeing now are signals to indicate that's where we're going. Such is life. Meanwhile, show me that the black clad folks in the streets is more problematic than a long history of violent protesters, often in hugely larger magnitude, in the past.

However, in this case it's just that you have a difference of opinion. They think there's a problem. You don't.

Jesus x 2. How many times above did I say that there are problems?

Neither of you are basing that opinion on much, if any, hard data.

But I'm not stating my opinions as facts, at least not usually, whereas Peterson crosses that line constantly. And I'm no the one who is predicting doom because some people are conflating fact and opinion (which is, in essence, what Peterson's whole anti-postmodernism raving is about).

And one of you is putting the burden of proof on those 'drama-queens' claiming it will, while the other puts it on those 'complacent fellow travellers and 'useful idiots'' claiming it won't.

Except I'm not claiming that it won't. And I'm not so much placing a burden of proof, so much as pointing out the flawed analysis in service of an agenda.

People outside scientific circles routinely express their opinions with certainty, and don't bother to give data every time where they think the statement is either obvious or a part of the group's core beliefs.

Sure. And people outside scientific circles routinely express important caveats along with their opinions. But when people go on a crusade against the dangers of ignoring the line between opinion and fact, and further go on to drama-queen about impending doom because of the people who do so, then I would think it might make sense for them to be careful to avoid doing that which they think is causing our downfall.

(Most of the audience have already seen plenty of evidence. They regard it as obvious.)

Lol! Most of the audience have already seen plenty of evidence that boys are biologically programmed to be hyperaggressive? Most have seen plenty of evidence that women are biologically programmed to be more agreeable than men? Most have seen that the dangers of post-modernism can't be overstated?


Both sides do it. But you only seem to see it when the other side does it.

You are certainly entitled to think so. But whether that is true or not doesn't have relevance to my criticisms of Peterson.

NiV - I still have yet to understand why you engage at such a banal level.

September 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

Someone on another blog put into sharper focus for me: Peterson is just so post-modern.

Check it out in this clip.. where at about 27 minutes in...where he explains that we needn't be concerned that he is a demagogue exaggerating the danger because of his own problems. No, he explains, that isn’t a valid concern regarding him. Why? Because it isn't!

Is that not postmodern as he describes it?

I also love the part at around 22 minutes in, ….where he explains the deeply dangerous nature of the Ontario Teachers Federation..

“…the teachers have already decided that the goal of the education system is to indoctrinate children, from kindergarten, from kindergarten into radical postmodern leftist, communitarian equity-oriented ethos, That’s what they’re doing, they’re even subsuming the teaching of mathematics and science under that umbrella.”

And he goes on to explain that the Ontario Commission for the Studies of Education is a “fifth column” …whose members should be put on trial for treason….

I started out thinking that Peterson is just a really smart and interesting guy that I happen to disagree with. As I've come to watch more, the (IMO) unhinged and maniacal nature of his rants really has me wondering about what's going on. Is it really for rhetorical effect as you suggested above (not saying that you'd agree with my characterization of the unhinged and maniacal aspects)? Or is there something else going on with the self-sealing aspect of his arguments?

September 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLoG9zBvvLQ&app=desktop

September 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

I think you've brought up Chomsky before:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hko0kOwRrIU

In which he discusses postmodernism.

September 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"Meanwhile, show me that the black clad folks in the streets is more problematic than a long history of violent protesters, often in hugely larger magnitude, in the past."

The problem isn't that we've got violent protestors in the streets. The problem is that the legal Establishment and a very large slice of society in general support them in their aims and methods.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/We-are-all-antifa-12174947.php

So long as violent protestors are regarded as fringe criminals to be opposed by the police and courts, you can consider them a minor aberration. But when the *lawyers* think assaulting people in the street for holding the wrong opinions is justified, where do you think that society is going? What are society's values? What guarantees our rights?

---
"But I'm not stating my opinions as facts, at least not usually"

OK. Let's count them.

1. "This is what leads to the kind of sloppiness and overconfidence that I was pointing to."

Stated as fact, yes?

2. "Notwithstanding that they are discussing a spectrum of views that is important to examine, there is an inherent vulnerability in these discussions to use alarmism and fear-mongering and to exploit slippery slope logic and straw men and reductio ad absurdum and tribalism and demonizing to construct blinders and to just present a mirror image if extremism on the other side."

Stated as fact, yes?


3. "That is why, IMO, diligence is a prerequisite, and a failure in due diligence, for me, taints the very endeavor to try to trace out a fine-grained line of demarcation between nature and nurture."

Stated as opinion.

4. "I recognize that there is a fallacy in what I'm saying."

I guess that counts as a caveat.

5. "Just because some people are suspiciously silent on the potential impact of their own biases in some areas doesn't imply that all people are pushing bias,..."

Stated as fact, yes?

6. "...but the very nature of the biology vs environment dichotomy, or of theories about the social logic and implications of evolution, are so obviously prone to bias,..."

Stated as "obvious" fact!

7. "... like a blank screen on which people can project their favorite images, or like a Rorschach test, that I have a very hard time in not being suspicious."

A fact on which you are qualified to comment, so that's OK.

8. "And so I remain unimpressed when people don't go out of their way to offer caveats and dispel, with evidence, obvious naysayers, such as htf do they reach such levels of certainty?"

Opinion.

9. "They act as if these issues don't reside on a spectrum, where elements of differing perspectives should be treated, as a baseline condition, to at least have the potential of a shred of truth."

Stated as fact, yes?

10. "They act like these issues, such as the appropriate boundaries of free speech, or examination of the interplay between power imbalance and identity have no place in the discourse."

Stated as fact, yes?

11. "Again, IMO, they present a mirror image of what they are so alarmed about."

Stated as fact, yes?

12. "And what they are alarmed about is indeed, in an abstract sense, something to be concerned about."

Stated as fact, yes?

13. "But they never entertain, in a deep manner, in a way I can see, the possibility that they are allowing their own biases to exaggerate the danger and magnitude and structure of the problem."

Stated as fact, but with the "in a way I can see" caveat.

14. "And the lack of such happens in big ways, such as the real and present danger can't be overstated (which, IMO, more or less completely ignores the arc of history), or little ways, such as 2 year old boys are biologically programmed to be hyper-aggressive and Charlottesville happened because left wing campus snowflakes."

Stated as fact, yes?

---

In total, 9/14 opinions stated as fact, one legitimate statement of fact, one caveated statement of fact, one caveat, and two opinions stated as opinions.

So... 15. "But I'm not stating my opinions as facts, at least not usually" Fact? Or opinion stated as fact?

Apologies for the length, but it seems to be the only way to make the point. *Everybody* routinely states their opinions as facts, including you, but we each of us only *notice* when we disagree with those opinions. That's all you're doing with Peterson, and it's the reason why you don't do it with people of your own political tribe, like Antifa, or Shearman.

---
"NiV - I still have yet to understand why you engage at such a banal level"

Because I find it entertaining! :-)

September 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Well, it certainly seems I'm guilty as charged. I try to use as many "IMO's" and "I think's" as is appropriate, but my not meeting the standard that I would apply to others is, indeed, I think an indication of how pervasive the problem is. Just means that I want to try that much harder.

You may see fit to diminish the importance, or somehow justify Peterson's postmodernism by pointing out my failings.
Doesn't work for me, however, I would like to think that if I were considered a thought leader, not just some Internet troll, with many people following my Youtube videos where I rant about the dangers of postmodernism being so pernicious that it can't be overstated, that I would be better than I am. Maybe not, but I'm rather sure that I would be better than Peterson is. That he's so poor at it strikes me as extraordinarily ironic. You, of course, are free to disagree.

I think that the problem is pervasive, and indicative of just how difficult it is to control for motivated reasoning. I don't, however, think that it is inevitable, or that it is something that should't be the subject of serious focus. I don't think it's something that just be rationalized away. It's not something that I think means that we're on the road to ruin, but a problem that I think is significant nonetheless. IMO, conflation of fact and opinion is a tell - as, of course, are strawmen and arguing via non-sequiturs, IMO. :-)

September 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"You may see fit to diminish the importance, or somehow justify Peterson's postmodernism by pointing out my failings."

That's not my aim at all. I don't care about Peterson, I don't agree with him, I'm not the least bit interested in defending him. This is about you.

One of the reasons that all this 'motivated reasoning' research is so widely ignored or rejected in the political debate is that it is constantly being used as a partisan weapon. The research shows that everyone is fallible, that everyone lives in a bubble of opinions and cultural assumptions they believe to be facts, and there are people who read this and constantly apply it only to their political opponents. They use it to explain away or dismiss any of their opponents' opinions as delusions born of their cognitive biases and motivated reasoning. That's what all the 'Republican Brain' stuff was about. But if you try to point out that the same applies to their opinions, it just bounces off. So other people ignore motivated reasoning research as being just another biased political club developed to beat partisan opponents with; just another fallacious, dirty-fighting technique in a dirty political fight.

The point I'm trying to make is that we *all* have biases and blind spots, that we can reduce them with training but never eliminate them entirely. We see everyone else's, but we cannot see our own - we have to deduce their existence from seeing how everyone else has them and are seemingly blind to them, and from that research on symmetry. The insight can be used to partially break open the bubbles, but you cannot use it to only break other people's bubbles but not your own! That's just seen as an attempt to reinforce and extend your own bubble, and people fight back, or reject the technique.

You notice the effect in Peterson's bubble of opinions particularly because is is so far away and so different from your own. You are amazed at how anyone could hold such crazy opinions, with so little hard evidence, and be so blind to what they were doing, or that when they complained about seeing it in other people, they were criticising their own mirror image.

My point is that that's what we *all* look like to people living in distant bubbles. Peterson is acting as a mirror for *you*. (And me too, of course. But I already know what people think of my opinions! You all tell me often enough. :-))

Your comment above: "but my not meeting the standard that I would apply to others is, indeed, I think an indication of how pervasive the problem is" - that's the first time I can remember you saying anything hinting at a crack in the bubble. Well done! The first step on any journey is admitting that you have a journey to make. I don't know if it will last, but that's the direction I'm pointing towards. And I know it's hard, and uncomfortable, and nobody likes doing it.

"It's not something that I think means that we're on the road to ruin, but a problem that I think is significant nonetheless."

We *all* have biases and blind spots, that we can reduce them with training but never eliminate them entirely. They're part of being human.

But there is a solution: we can talk to people with *different* biases and blind spots, and compare notes. We can explain our ideas and arguments to other people, and ask them to point out the flaws and holes in them. We can then concentrate our self-examination on those places where our viewpoints differ. Sometimes that will be because of a flaw in their viewpoint, and sometimes because of one in your own, and yes, it's still very difficult sometimes to tell the difference. But the point is that a diversity of viewpoints as wide and different as possible is the best defence against our own biases.

We need to preserve and *encourage* that diversity and those differences; - getting everyone to live in the same bubble doesn't eliminate our biases and blind spots, it just hides them from us. We need to preserve and encourage communication, too. We don't want people frightened to tell us what they think, or when they think we're making a mistake. We shouldn't be scared of people being plain wrong about stuff, or having false - even crazy - opinions. It's an inevitable consequence of diversity. You need a bit of dirt to keep the immune system alert and active, you need a bit of opposition to keep in practice, and to test that the alarms are still working. Gazelles are so fast and graceful because of the lions. Disagreement is good.

We just need to keep it friendly. :-)

September 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

This is about you.

Or maybe it's about you? Relatedly...

We just need to keep it friendly. :-)

Also, a very subjective evaluation. For example.

- that's the first time I can remember you saying anything hinting at a crack in the bubble. Well done!

So that doesn't seem friendly to me; it seems disingenuous, condescending and insulting.

First, by insinuating that I'm so far into the bubble that (at least from your perspective) I've never given any indication of a "crack" (despite a rather long history of exchanges).

Second, that you're "congratulating" me as if I'm a child getting praise (I don't particularly take it personally, as I've seen you do this with others as well - I think Gaythia in particular although I could be wrong about that). Sincere congratulations are not usually expressed in such a form of in this kind of context.

I am left to wonder if maybe I'm just particularly sensitive, although I doubt it; of course I could be unaware of my own hypersensitivity - so I'll leave it to you to determine if the first explanation is the best..

Or perhaps it's that you're unaware of adopting a tone that I would find condescending and superior, and it's an innocent kind of offense mixed in with an honest-to-god attempt to be complimentary. That explanation seems somewhat unlikely to me because, IMO, reasonably self-aware people recognize the general form of "that's the first time I've see you do X, so congratulations," as compared to something on the manner of "It's always good to see when people are able to rise look outside the bubbles that usually envelope us all." I could explain more about that, if you'd like, but it's fairly standard effective communication stuff, IMO, so my guess is that an unintentional transgression is not that likely. And then there also a whole slew of other passive-aggressive and fallacious rhetorical devices that, IMO, were mixed in with what I see as a lecturing/conservasplaining tone that characterizes that comment and that, IMO, you've used in our exchanges in the past and continue to use despite my pointing out the repeated usage and the likely counterproductive effect w/r/t productive exchange. All of which kind of makes the benefit of the doubt related to this option less likely - although, again, you may really see yourself as legitimately being in a position to lecture me and offer me congratulations for earning your approval.

Or maybe it is a passive-aggressive and fairly deliberate and decisive if indirect and disingenuous rhetorical approach. My guess is that last explanation is most apt.

September 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

BTW -

I think that "friendliness" is fairly irrelevant. IMO, what's more important is good faith exchange. Among other things, good faith exchanges, IMO, entails a focused dedication to inspecting for and acknowledging just how difficult it is to recognize the difference between opinion and fact.

September 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"So that doesn't seem friendly to me; it seems disingenuous, condescending and insulting."

It wasn't intended that way.

Although given the way you constantly condescend to and insult me, I'm not that surprised that you'd assume I was doing the same. "NiV - I still have yet to understand why you engage at such a banal level"? Condescending and insulting, yes? Not that I'm bothered.

"First, by insinuating that I'm so far into the bubble that (at least from your perspective) I've never given any indication of a "crack" (despite a rather long history of exchanges)."

I think you're so far in the bubble you couldn't see daylight with a radio telescope. And I've come to that opinion *because* of our long history of exchanges, and because of the long history of exchanges I've seen in other places where lots of other people have told you exactly the same thing. I'm not alone in thinking that.

But like I said, it affects everyone to some degree, and I don't consider it particularly blameworthy. It's just human.

"Second, that you're "congratulating" me as if I'm a child getting praise"

I'm guessing you don't get congratulated often as an adult, then. There was nothing child-specific about it. It's advice commonly given to, and just as applicable to adults - it's been around for millennia. (For example, in Plato's tales of Socrates, who was definitely writing for adults.) The prerequisite of learning is first admitting that you have something to learn. But it's psychologically difficult to do - for adults far more so than children. It's *genuinely* praiseworthy, even for an adult.

But I think the reason you feel insulted is that you still *don't* believe you have anything to learn. You think of me as the idiot child with ignorant and wrong-headed opinions, deluded by a mental fog of "motivated reasoning", and yourself as the adult trying to talk me round. So for me to congratulate you on getting something right is a threat to your self-image as such - an inversion of the hierarchy between us.

You do it to everyone. If someone holds opinions you disagree with, you dissect and analyse their "motivated reasoning" and the biases leading to their delusion- frequently in pretty insulting terms.

"Peterson and Weinstein are guilty of what they complain about, and they justify poor arguments by going reductio ad absurdum" "Peterson [...] is completely clueless" "I see it as sloppy and as shallow tribalism" "But half truths or shallow analysis presented in an overconfident manner as "truth," so as to confirm biases and support tribalism, while not exactly "false" are close to false." "But I'm not stating my opinions as facts, at least not usually, whereas Peterson crosses that line constantly. And I'm no the one who is predicting doom because some people are conflating fact and opinion (which is, in essence, what Peterson's whole anti-postmodernism raving is about)."

That's a university professor you're talking about! An adult! 'Condescending and insulting'?!

Although I suppose your argument would be that you fully intended to be.

So what we get from you is a long sequence of one-sided analyses attacking and ridiculing your ideological opponents (and *only* your opponents), using the tools of motivated reasoning research, while you congratulate yourself on how much cleverer and wiser you and your tribe are. No, *you're* not the one stating opinions as facts!

But that's nothing unusual. *Everybody* routinely states their opinions as facts but we each of us only *notice* when we disagree with those opinions. *Everybody* lives in a bubble. And *everybody* is blind to their own biases, and, while publicly acknowledging the theoretical possibility of error, is secretly convinced their own opinions are all actually true. It's the default state for humans. It's not an insult.

I do actually quite like and respect you and your obvious intelligence, and I enjoy debating with you (especially when we can put aside all the snide asides ("banal"?) and temper-tantrum refusals to talk). You have a very different worldview to me, and a lot of opinions I don't agree with. But that's OK. That's what debate is about. And I'd genuinely much rather just debate the topics - I'm not interested in insulting or condescending to anyone, and I'm rarely if ever being disingenuous. However, I'm coming to the conclusion that this conversation isn't ever going to work that way.

So be it.

--
"What does this tell us about "motivated system 2 reasoning"(MS2R)? That even Yale Profs can fall victim."

Link drop... http://www.salon.com/2017/09/09/what-adolf-hitler-and-the-nazis-learned-from-american-racism/
;-)

September 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

It wasn't intended that way.

I don't think you're a liar, but it's hard to understand how you wouldn't realize the condescending nature of your "good job" in such a lecturing framework. Like I said, it's pretty basic effective communication stuff.

"NiV - I still have yet to understand why you engage at such a banal level"? Condescending and insulting, yes?

It was actually a straight up question. For example, when I talk about the signal, and in response you talk about the noise, that seems pretty banal to me - the kind of stuff I expect from people who are less sophisticated in their approach to these issues. There has been a pattern established where, IMO, you make facile arguments as if you're just going through the motions. I actually don't understand why you do so, rather than engage in what I consider to be a good faith manner. About the only answer I can come up with is that you don't think that you're engaging with a partner that merits a good faith exchange. I tend to doubt that the facile nature of responding in such a way (again, like when I talk about the signal you respond, talking about the noise as if it's somehow a meaningful response) is lost on you.

You think of me as the idiot child with ignorant and wrong-headed opinions, deluded by a mental fog of "motivated reasoning",

Actually, not at all. That is why I keep asking you why you engage in the manner in which you do.

Anyway, enough of this nonsense. I really don't like to clutter up Dan's blog with this silliness. Plenty of other blogs where such exchanges are the norm. I keep wanting to face the reality of how useless engagement with you is...but it's always tempting. The whole "There's someone wrong on the Internet" thing.

https://goo.gl/images/jomBMo

September 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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