EppsNet Archive: Evidence

Teaching Computer Science: All Are Welcome

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in a high school computer science class . . . “Computing,” I tell the class, “is like most professions in that some groups are under-represented and some groups are over-represented. You may have heard that the reason some groups are under-represented is because computing as a profession is more welcoming to some people than others. “I haven’t found that to be the case and I’ll tell you why. “My perspective on this is that if you walk through the workplace at a typical technology company, you won’t see people who look like me. I’m too old and I’ve been too old for quite a while now. At this point, I’m usually old enough to be the CEO’s father. “So to the extent that people want to work with other people who look like them and people who fit into the group, that doesn’t… Read more →

I’d Like to Believe in the Existence of a Loving God . . .

. . . but I can’t. The quality of evidence is very poor. Do you believe in ghosts, fortune tellers, psychics, werewolves, vampires, astrology, alien visitations . . .? I don’t believe in any of those things, but they’re all out there and a lot of people do believe in a lot of things for which the quality of evidence is very poor. Do you believe that a cow jumped over the moon? I remember reading about it but the quality of evidence is very poor. It seems to be just another made-up story . . . Read more →

What Is the Evidence for Unconscious Bias?

What is the evidence for “unconscious bias,” since it’s, you know, unconscious? "Unconscious bias doesn't just affect women. It affects all constituencies." https://t.co/CjVw1F89mv @MITSloanWomen pic.twitter.com/qcjpr6dx8b — MIT Sloan (@MITSloan) February 22, 2016 Read more →

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The notion that we have limited access to the workings of our minds is difficult to accept because, naturally, it is alien to our experience but it is true: You know far less about yourself than you feel you do.   A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.   It is the consistency of information that matters for a good story, not its completeness. Indeed, you will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit everything you know into a coherent pattern.   The exaggerated faith in small samples is only one example of a more general illusion — we pay more attention to the content of messages than to information about their reliability, and as a result end up with a view of the world around us that is simpler and more coherent than… Read more →

On the Evaluation of One-Sided Evidence

We examine predictions and judgments of confidence based on one-sided evidence. Some subjects saw arguments for only one side of a legal dispute while other subjects (called ‘jurors’) saw arguments for both sides. Subjects predicted the number of jurors who favored the plaintiff in each case. Subjects who saw only one side made predictions that were biased in favor of that side. Furthermore, they were more confident but generally less accurate than subjects who saw both sides. The results indicate that people do not compensate sufficiently for missing information even when it is painfully obvious that the information available to them is incomplete. — Lyle A. Brenner, Derek J. Koehler and Amos Tversky, “On the Evaluation of One-sided Evidence” (emphasis added) Read more →

The State of Evidence on the God Question

By the way I’m an atheist. I don’t claim to have a proof that God cannot exist. It’s just that I consider the state of the evidence on the God question to be similar to that on the werewolf question. — John McCarthy Read more →