Just a quick post today about scale and the news lately. The understanding of scale and having a scale world view is to hold off on forming opinions without evidence. The understanding of life with millions and billions of people is to be very, very weary of your intuition and your own confirmation bias. One way to implement counteracting this confirmation bias, our principle of scale, is be disciplined in using the notion that claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. We call this the null position or the default position.
I cannot state this often enough when it comes to interpreting the news: claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. There have a been some serious news items recently without evidence.
- NYC police assassinations. The claim is that the person responsible/possessed/programmed/directed to do the killing was done so by the protests/Obama/Al Sharpton/NYC Mayor. Got any evidence? No? Just trading on people's emotional confirmation bias is the worst kind of mob mentality propaganda exploitation. I don't know then. Claims made without evidence? dismissed.
- North Korea hacked Sony. President Obama states his evidence is the FBI. The FBI does not provide any evidence, just implies "trust us". Claims made without evidence? dismissed.
- Oil prices destroying the Russian Ruble are a result of economic warfare. President Putin blames the west for economic warfare. Claims made without evidence? dismissed.
- The torture report rebuttal that torture saved American lives. There is evidence on one side of whether torture works or not; the side with 6,000 pages that conclude torture produced no viable evidence. On the other side, however, there is no evidence. The only evidence being put forward that torture saved American lives is the word of the CIA. Trust us? Claims made without evidence? dismissed.
- Police wearing cameras save lives. This one is a better scale argument in that insufficient evidence is almost like having no evidence. There actually have been studies to show that police wearing body cameras save lives. At issue is that those studies are preliminary and not comprehensive. The FDA clinical trials starts with fifty local people for one year and ends with around 7,000 people from all over the world for over five years. That kind of rigorous scale of study has not been done with police wearing cameras. Claims made with insufficient evidence? dismissed.
People who will believe anything without evidence can be made to do anything without evidence. In a government by the people, for the people and of the people then evidence or transparency is a standard that allows people to settle differences of opinion. If people are willing to rally without evidence then mob mentality rules, mob tyranny rules. Having no opinion and admitting one does not know enough to form an opinion may in fact still require a decision, but at least one is making that decision admitting the unknown reality and not forcing an opinion because of a false dichotomy or false choices being presented in the news and propaganda.
Well come! and Well met!