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

Comment author: guy_in_the_veal_calf_office 08 August 2007 02:22:54AM 1 point [-]

I have little to contribute to furthering the discussion in the post, but the "importance of narrowness" leads me to an observation.

Thousands of litigators litigate tens of thousands of cases before juries and those litigators, and their specialized vendors, focus much of their attention on biases. Billions of dollars are bet in this market, where highly intelligent people hotly contest one another in overcoming (or even better, seeding) bias and rationality (irrationality) among jurors, judges, media commentators and even scientific experts. Litigators grasp the importance of narrowness in this websites subject matter. Someone might look (or may already have looked) into that as a source of research material, although a lot of trade secrecy may need to be overcome.

Scientific experts might be a fertile area. The law imposes a list of requirements for scientif evidence (guess if peer review is required) and litigators who discredit experts often expose biases. The legal system, of course, has its own entrenched biases- often judges prohibit expert testimony that eyewitness identifcation or finger printing have little credibility. Lie detectors have been successfully tossed from the court room. One odd development is that prosecutors have been hamstrung by, and defense attorneys taking advantage of, the expectations of jurors who watch lots of the procedure television shows.

Thats my brain dump. I hope someone enjoyed it. Enjoy the website.