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Perhaps the most fundamental question underlying Bayes’ theorem is what counts as evidence for a theory. Strangely there is a correct answer to this question which applies not just to Bayes’ theorem but all evidence: something is evidence for a theory if and only if it was more likely to observe that evidence if that theory is true as opposed to the likelihood of observing that evidence if it was false.
Admittedly that is a lot of verbiage but let’s take an example: Suppose I am inside my house one morning and I have the hypothesis that it snowed overnight. Considering I’d watched a weather report yesterday that said there was a 50% chance of getting the first snow of the season overnight (and that such reports had been more or less accurate in the past) I think there is a 50% chance that it snowed. How can you settle this, what would count as evidence for that it snowed? I can look outside and see if there is any snow on my porch. I can even go outside and take samples from the tops of different surfaces, checking them for snow. Suppose I do these things and it turns out that I can see snow outside and that when I go outside I am able to capture some snow. Seeing the snow should raise my probability that it snowed last night and likewise physically taking samples should do the same.
“A great nation is like a great man:
When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
Having realized it, he admits it.
Having admitted it, he corrects it.
He considers those who point out his faults
as his most benevolent teachers.
He thinks of his enemy
as the shadow that he himself casts.”—
Lo there do I see my father. Lo there do I see my mother and my sisters and my brothers. Lo there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call to me, they bid me take my place among them, in the Halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live– forever.
Often, when a touchy subject such as politics, religion, human rights, or anything else comes up in a conversation between two people with opposite opinions comes up, they will decline to discuss to the matter. They’ll say something like, “well, I respect your beliefs and you have your right to…
“Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we tie a rope around their necks and hang them. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. You may follow your customs, and we shall follow ours.”—
General Charles James Napier,
Regarding the custom of Sati, in which a man’s widow is burned alive on his funeral pyre.
I just wanted to remind all of you the importance of skepticism in the world of science. More importantly, I wanted to make sure you knew the difference between being a skeptic and being a cynical asshole.
I’m going to go ahead and assume we’re all aware of sensationalist media: News outlets…
And almost as important, beware of only attacking your beliefs at their strongest points, rehearsing weak attacks and comfortable rebuttals- and focus instead on whatever part of the idea makes you least comfortable. If your belief is wrong, that’s the part most likely to tip you off.
“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd; the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”—Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet (via showslow)
Person A is taking Person B out to breakfast at IHOP Person B has never been to IHOP Person A is horrified
I need a comparison: something non-vital to survival (so not eating/sleeping/drinking etc) which everyone is expected to do. Like, something that is so common you’d be considered a complete shut-in or weirdo if you hadn’t done it.
Help? I’m 300 words from ten thousand and I’m completely stuck.
I love picking my courses. I love sitting in front of my program requirements and making lists of exciting-sounding classes on scrap paper. I love colour-coding my makeshift Excel timetables, playing with classes and trying to prepare an optimal year.