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« Who "falls for" fake news? Apparently no one. | Main | Kathleen Hall Jamieson double feature! Plus Carl Zimmer & Sarah Smaga »

Where am I (or will be soon)? Vienna . . . 

Will be talking (for 15 mins; that's less than a full sentence for me) about the uplifiting spectacle of motivated numeracy.

Tickets are sold out, but it should still be possible to watch a live-stream broadcast from the comfort of one's home.

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Reader Comments (14)

Anybody have a favorite take on what TED really stands for? Mine is Tendentious Erudite Diatribe. Goes quite well with Dan's theme of Motivated Numeracy.

October 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Is it just me or does anyone else get the impression that that Vox journalist didn't like you very much?

"a creature of the abyss", "depressing", "he doesn’t have much of an answer", "Indeed, pressing him on these questions makes me wonder whether [...] he’s rationalized the problem away as a mere artifact of a poor communications strategy", "The question seemed to rattle Kahan a bit"...

October 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

@NiV: to be fair the journalist said that Dan *didn't* sound like a creature of the abyss, and I guess it's not his job to be kind. But to some extent, I can see where you're coming from. Seems to me he would have preferred Dan to wave a magic wand in order to fix US polarisation, and I guess you can't blame him for that.

@Dan: '15 mins; that's less than a full sentence for me'. Wow, that's even worse than me, and in some circles I'm known as the notorious master of the long sentence.

October 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

@NiV & @andywest--

I don't think the journalist (Ezra Klein) disliked me, but I do recall him being surprised that I didn't see the result as implying that it was impossible to reconcile democratic rule & evidence-based policymaking.

I think I won them over on that eventually.

October 18, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

So how does a knowledge of climate change and motivated numeracy factor in with flying across the Atlantic for a 15 minute presentation?

October 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGaythia Weis


Agreed that second article seems a lot more positive.

I was interested by the bit near the end:

Kahan admits he needs to test more conditions under which science curiosity can succeed or fail. And it would be nice to know if science-curious people are reading “surprising” findings with a healthy dose of skepticism too, and aren’t duped by every new flashy headline that comes along.

That work will come.

Looking forward to it. :-)

October 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

@NiV--in the works...

October 18, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Gaythia-- the plane was going w/ or w/o me.

Also, 15 mins rather than 45 will definitely help reduce the contribution that hot air makes.

October 18, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Jonathan -

Seen this?

October 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The term “fixed” describes people who are warier of social and cultural change and hence more set in their ways, more suspicious of outsiders, and more comfortable with the predictable and familiar. People we call "fluid," on the other hand, support changing social and cultural norms, are excited by things new and novel, and are open to, and welcoming of, people who loop and sound different.

Rest assured, there's nothing in that book thst NiV might argue reflects implicit bias on the part of the authors. 😊

October 23, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


So, what's the fourth question? I found three mentioned on the Amazon site for that book: Prius vs. Pickup, Starbucks vs. Dunkin' Donuts, and Cats vs. Dogs.

It seems that Prius vs. Pickup and Cats vs. Dogs likely correlate highly to urban vs. rural, hence wouldn't at all be surprising even without other cultural effects. In MA, Starbucks vs. Dunkin' Donuts correlates with the 1% vs. the 99% (or, maybe its 0.1% vs. 99.9%).

October 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

I'm wondering whether these were the 4 questions (is there some cosmic allusion to a passover seder there?)

Although there are a number of qualities that people feel children should have, every person thinks that some are more important than others. I am going to read you pairs of desirable qualities. Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have.

Independence versus respect for elders
Obedience versus self-reliance
Curiosity versus good manners
Being considerate versus being well behaved

Related links:

I'm still in the symmetry camp. I don't particularly reject the possibility that the alignments in how people answer these questions tells us something, but I'm dubious about their validity in measuring what people are saying they measure.

I think the causality may run the other way: people answer these questions the way they do because they have a certain social identity, as opposed to people who hold certain "worldviews" (as reflected in their answers) align into particular groups.

I think that the "authoritarianism" of outlooks is often contextual. Once again, i cite the example of how Republicans have shifted in their reaction to the "authoritarianism" of a healthcare mandate.

Then again, I read comments from our friend Ecoute... and they read like a case study for the open vs.closed paradigm.

One of the interesting things I see when I read rightwing blogs and "skeptic" climate blogs (is there a difference?) is the constance statements with complete confidence about how libz and "realists" are uniformly desirous of authoritarian states to squash freedom of thought and speech, in contrast to "skeptics" and conz who are uniformly freedom fighters yearning to hold on to human rights.

I can't read these analyses associating ideology with authoritarianism without thinking about that component of perspective.

Of course, I am also somewhat equivocal. I do think their is something to Lakeoff's general thesis and aspects of the Prius vs. Pickup thesis. , and that differences in child-rearing and attitudes towards daddy have some deeper implications to divisions in ideological associations with worldview. I think of how much more easily (IMO) Pubz conform to a disciplined, uniform rhetoric for the sake of political expediency.

October 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

It seems that Prius vs. Pickup and Cats vs. Dogs likely correlate highly to urban vs. rural, hence wouldn't at all be surprising even without other cultural effects. In MA, Starbucks vs. Dunkin' Donuts correlates with the 1% vs. the 99% (or, maybe its 0.1% vs. 99.9%).

I think there is some cross-over between your point and what I wrote, on other words, social context vs. worldview... but will also point out that in Philly, there are virtually no STARBUCKS (as well as relatively few DD'S) in vast urban neighborhoods - the (mostly) black, working class urban neighborhoods that comprise the bulk of the square miles (there is one huge mostly white class area - the "Northeast" where there are also relatively few Starbucks relative to the DD'S). Same thing with Trader Joe's vs. Dollar Stores

October 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Thinking about the whole fixed/fluid asymmetry question....

And connecting back to previous thread.... and conspiracy ideation... and asymmetry....

And connecting to Dan's assertion of greater susceptibility to fake news on the right wing fringe...

While there is probably some symmetry within fake news items like trutherism and vaccines cause autism and result from a government/medical establishment conspiracy... Has there ever been a conspiracy theory on the left that was as widely embraced as birtherism? Are there really highly active, lefty conspiracy websites that are the equivalent of 4chan or the reddit/Trump (ala Pizzagate) stuff?

Maybe it's just that within a particular fringe element, which exists on both sides (of equal magnitude?), there is asymmetry in susceptibility to conspiracy ideation? Or perhaps while the fringes on both sides are small relative to the whole left/right divide, and there is asymmetry in the fringe w/r/t conspiracy ideation susceptibility, the fringe element on the right is still relatively larger than on the left?

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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