Re: Fun with Experimental Design [WAS: Re: The Conjunction Fallacy Fallacy]

From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Sat May 06 2006 - 11:13:06 MDT

Look Richard, I don't know why you want to believe that humans are not
systematically biased in their beliefs, but you simply don't have the option
of holding that as a rational position. In order to hold *any* position
that you do not believe to be consistant with social consensus, you must
believe that the social consensus is systematically biased. After all,
rational truth-seekers always respond to disagreement by updating their
beliefs until they can not predict the direction of future disagreement.
You *can't* rationally disagree with someone who you believe to be rational.
  Now societal consensus is that people are not rational, so if you disagree
with the consensus you must accept it.

Once the rest of us recognize our irrationality, we can try to reduce it.
We shouldn't really be very discouraged by Kahneman's and Wason's results
a) the participants were just Harvard psychology undergraduates
b) the participants didn't have a great deal of either time or motivation to
correct their errors.

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