Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

ChristianKl comments on What is Bayesianism? - Less Wrong

81 Post author: Kaj_Sotala 26 February 2010 07:43AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (211)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 October 2012 12:23:12PM 1 point [-]

Or take the debate we had on 9/11 conspiracy theories. Some people thought that unexplained and otherwise suspicious things in the official account had to mean that it was a government conspiracy. Others considered their prior for "the government is ready to conduct massively risky operations that kill thousands of its own citizens as a publicity stunt", judged that to be overwhelmingly unlikely, and thought it far more probable that something else caused the suspicious things.

Don't forget the prior: "The official account of big conflicts with a lot of different interests involved will always leave some things unexplained or otherwise suspicious." "Government agencies who fail on a massive scale don't like to be transparent about how the failure happened."

Actors in government agencies didn't think: "How can I convince that public that 9/11 wasn't an inside job." They think: "How can I influence the public perception of 9/11 in a way that my department gets more funding." Or when it comes to president Bush at that time: "How can I influence the public perception in a way that makes it more likely that I'll win the next election."

Newspaper journalists don't care about fact checking every single fact in their articles. It's way to much effort. If you have background knowledge you will in most news stories facts that aren't true.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 15 October 2012 07:58:57PM 1 point [-]

Don't forget the prior: "The official account of big conflicts with a lot of different interests involved will always leave some things unexplained or otherwise suspicious." "Government agencies who fail on a massive scale don't like to be transparent about how the failure happened."

"Governments in general, and the U.S. in specific, have a history of lying to justify war. I can think of several incidents where an official casus belli turned out to be either a lie, as in the second Gulf of Tonkin incident or the Iraqi WMD allegation; or at least significantly doubtful, such as the sinking of the Maine. In these cases, the 'conspiracy theorists' and peace activists were right; and I can't think of any where they were wrong. So they have more credibility than the official report."

Comment author: ChristianKl 15 October 2012 09:57:45PM *  1 point [-]

In these cases, the 'conspiracy theorists' and peace activists were right; and I can't think of any where they were wrong. So they have more credibility than the official report."

Knowing that the official report contains information that's false, doesn't lead you to know what's true.