0007 - Evaluating Evidence or Not

Read the Show notes at https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/evaluating-evidence-or-not - Sqeaky has a rant about Winning versus Understanding. Then Sqeaky and Mako discuss what makes for good evidence and covid conspiracies theorists catching and dying from covid..

Read the Show notes at https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/evaluating-evidence-or-not/edit - Sqeaky has a rant about Winning versus Understanding. Then Sqeaky and Mako discuss what makes for good evidence and covid conspiracies theorists catching and dying from covid..

The Full Rant Text [1:35] - 

When arguing with people I used to try to “win”. I was young and came from an environment surrounded by mostly “conservatives”. I wasn’t overly religious, but came from an environment where everyone defaulted to believing in a god.

I guess I was lucky, I could handle evidence, I just hadn’t seen much of it yet. I got in an argument with another child conservative about climate change. Mr Shannon, you know who you are. He defaulted to parroting those around him and he wasn’t dumb, but he was trying to “win” without considering the larger strategy. I outmaneuvered him because I figured out what reality said on the topic mattered most and acknowledging that scientists would side with reality.

So we both got sources and both tried to appeal to each other’s better senses of logic. By the end of it I learned how CO2 impacted the climate but not weather, what earlier scientists thought about the coming ice age and how that related to the evidence, and how human behavior factored into it. He had a messy disconnected set of targeted attacks on my ideas, and few positive assertions of his own. Only after I had presented my argument could he research then shoot down my points.

I had learned enough to build a cohesive and sound view of the world. When he put fallacious arguments up, I often had an immediate response. And not one from a list but rather I knew what was going on and could see that he had no plan or cogency. So I could easily point out how his point didn’t fit.

Imagine you are preparing a simple dinner with a child too young to read. I am imagining some simple boxed mac and cheese. I could see all the instructions on the box and I knew the steps beginning to end. Having much experience with this simple meal I know what happens if we miss a step or what might be substituted.

In his ignorance he was this child suggesting we put chocolate ice cream in at every step. He liked the conservative viewpoint like a child might like ice cream and couldn't see the larger organization of the meal or ideas and kept trying to force chocolate ice cream into the reality of this dinner. Ok enough, that metaphor is more strained than the macaroni.

Sometimes when you have enough knowledge a lot of things fit together easily in your mind. It doesn’t have to be political. Perhaps you know how people interact, how math works, or as we will discuss later, how a disease spreads. When you know enough your understanding can allow you to make inferences about a topic and know when something simply doesn’t fit.

There isn’t enough knowledge to do this about every topic, and it is possible for a person to drink enough conspiracy koolaid to think they “get it” for a large amount of conspiracies. But appealing to evidence and vetting sources while not cherry picking rarely has such issues.

We saw on Jan 6 how poorly the ignorant organize and how feeble they are in a fight. Sure they cling to their guns and the 2nd amendment and pretend it is a shield against tyranny, but it doesn’t matter when one is detached from reality. They can’t agree on when to act or how to act and have no obvious source of leadership because so many different have equally invalid claims to authority.

This is why flat earthers can’t organize and why churches are losing attendees. Reality might not have the fantastical intrigue of a religious tale, but it is real. I don’t know of any certain way to know that you or I aren’t in one of those groups deluding ourselves, but demanding evidence and demanding reputable sources and consulting expertise seems to be a good starting point.

When I say expertise, I mean people who understand a topic so well they see a dozen interrelated sub-topics the way I see a mac and cheese dinner. We can all be tricked or wrong, I started this thinking climate change was fake and god was real. I just kept vetting and verifying evidence with an eye on accuracy instead of picking a side. I chose accuracy over winning, and for most of us that is all it takes.

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