tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post5710971555028989521..comments2023-10-22T03:34:22.379-04:00Comments on The Mermaid's Tale: When your guess is (literally) as good as mineAnne Buchananhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/09212151396672651221noreply@blogger.comBlogger11125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-64355517869573600712011-01-18T18:22:47.557-05:002011-01-18T18:22:47.557-05:00Well, conjecture is interesting to do, and at leas...Well, conjecture is interesting to do, and at least some people would like to understand the true nature of existence. And hoping that it's not the existentialist's nothingness, and hoping, if not, to understand what it is<br /><br />But it is probably a vain hope, or at least we don't seem to be very close to a demonstrable understanding of it all.Ken Weisshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02049713123559138421noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-68733556426747472532011-01-18T16:53:23.482-05:002011-01-18T16:53:23.482-05:00"Given all of this, it's not clear to me ..."Given all of this, it's not clear to me what illusory or validity actually mean."<br /><br />Well, it's all a conjecture to me. And unless all of the perceptions of my senses are completely wrong, then making conjectures of validity are helpful, which of course is a conjecture.:)James Goetzhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02412501436355228925noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-3906919504887877192011-01-18T15:32:00.210-05:002011-01-18T15:32:00.210-05:00I guess I can only say that we know of very simple...I guess I can only say that we know of very simple deterministic processes that yield results indistinguishable from randomness, in the sense that a present state does not predict future states (e.g., the consecutive digits of pi, or the results of computer 'cellular automata'). We know of processes that, so far as anyone can tell so far, are truly random (quantum mechanics).<br /><br />We know of sampling issues that, for given sample sizes and underlying probabilities, cannot be resolved, whether the underlying process is perfectly deterministic or is truly random (e.g., whether Heads-Heads-Tails came from a fair coin).<br /><br />We know of processes that even if perfectly deterministic, from which measurement that is not 100% accurate, which it never is, will be unable to predict future states any better than random (so-called 'chaotic' processes, the predictions of economists).<br /><br />So we really cannot know, with current concepts and methods, what the ultimate truths actually are.<br /><br />And even then the thinking almost always assumes the excluded middle (something can be true or false but not both), the rules of mathematics and deductive logic, assumptions about the universality of 'laws' of nature.<br /><br />Given all of this, it's not clear to me what illusory or validity actually mean.Ken Weisshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02049713123559138421noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-54292875960542245812011-01-18T14:42:33.155-05:002011-01-18T14:42:33.155-05:00I can refine my critique of causal determinism:
I...I can refine my critique of causal determinism:<br /><br />If the appearance of probability in events is merely an illusion within inscrutable causal determinism, then all scientific experiments with a probabilistic analysis have only illusionary validity. Likewise, causal determinism is a so-called baby of rationalistic thought that invalidates most of science. Also, regardless of the worthlessness of causal determinism in science, nobody can disprove it, especially with a significance test.James Goetzhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02412501436355228925noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-88817158597524421132011-01-18T14:23:36.686-05:002011-01-18T14:23:36.686-05:00Now that you mention this, I think I knew it. I h...Now that you mention this, I think I knew it. I had thought until recently that this arose out of his putting the tea-taster to the test, but on reading about it I realized otherwise, perhaps by browsing Fisher's book. Anyway, it is interesting how elusive probability and randomness actually are.Ken Weisshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02049713123559138421noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-37178005222187140022011-01-18T14:02:50.817-05:002011-01-18T14:02:50.817-05:00Fair enough, but Fisher didn't introduce it, h...Fair enough, but Fisher didn't introduce it, he was codifying pre-existing practise. See Cowles and Davis (1982). On the Origins of the .05 Level of Statistical Significance. _American Psychologist_, 37, 553-558.John R. Vokeyhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/03822243132435056442noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-21906149076896006492011-01-18T13:57:03.558-05:002011-01-18T13:57:03.558-05:00Yes, fair enough. I don't think we have any s...Yes, fair enough. I don't think we have any substantial difference here.<br /><br />There is perhaps a third sense, which is the effective predictability of B from A, whatever its ultimate underlying reason. The latter can then be viewed as a matter of philosophy.<br /><br />I can't comment on the second point without access to the actual article. But the abstract talks about a small sample of 36, who in a gambling test found between 10% and 1% chance of being wrong to be meaningful to them, what one may call an emotional sense of 'meaningful'.<br /><br />Assuming that kind of study itself to be very meaningful (which I'm not sure I would), then in the human emotional sense 5% may not be arbitrary, and I'm sure there are many who would cook up a post hoc adaptive reason that a 95% safety tolerance led to greater net fitness than being too, or not enough, gullible.<br /><br />But I think that historically Fisher introduced it strictly as a kind of suggested hunch, with no formal justification being offered. And in the post we made 'arbitrary' would have to be understood to be relative to whether 5% is a measure of actual truth, which it isn't, since it's a measure of our judgment of whether we want to accept the hypothesis given the evidence. If the hypothesis is properly framed and everything, it's either true or not (assuming the principle of the excluded middle). Any chosen cutoff convention is in that sense of the word 'arbitrary'. <br /><br />That 5% is arbitrary is also shown by the way it's honored in the breach. Investigators hungry for the answer they want often (sometimes surreptitiously) lower the bar in various ways. Investigators (such as geneticists doing thousands of tests) raise the bar to avoid having to track down countless expensive false trails, knowing they may be overlooking true causal elements as a consequence of being able to focus on the most plausible ones.<br /><br />So if we differ on your second point, it may be on what one means by 'arbitrary'.Ken Weisshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02049713123559138421noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-24684451140631306182011-01-18T13:16:33.322-05:002011-01-18T13:16:33.322-05:00Two points:
1. There are two meanings of random ...Two points:<br /><br />1. There are two meanings of random here that are being equivocated: A is random with respect to B (the usual meaning in statistics), and A is fundamentally random (i.e., there is no B such that A is NOT random with respect to it---the meaning in quantum physics). The first meaning allows for A to be completely determined.<br /><br />2. The .05 alpha level may be less arbitrary than is usually assumed (see: Cowles, Michael; Davis, Caroline<br />Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des Sciences du comportement , Volume 14 (3): 248<br />PsychARTICLES® – Jul 1, 1982).John R. Vokeyhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/03822243132435056442noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-82841582869892912622011-01-18T12:41:08.948-05:002011-01-18T12:41:08.948-05:00This is a nice postingThis is a nice postingAnonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-53284847643460903682011-01-18T12:20:17.071-05:002011-01-18T12:20:17.071-05:00That's basically the question. If something s...That's basically the question. If something seems random after close scrutiny (or in the case of the results of random sampling to estimate properties of the real world), then for all practical purposes it is random. Whether it's illusory or not is a philosophical question unless or until science gets to the scale at which it makes a difference.<br /><br />But the idea of 'validity' is elusive. The description of something is valid within its range of applicability, meaning that we're claiming to understand and predict how it appears, but not what its ultimate properties might be. <br /><br />So, something that appears random and is analyzed probabilistically, will provide a valid distributional understanding (such as in the expected number of heads in 100 coin flips, and the expected variation among such trials).<br /><br />But when and whether something is ultimately valid may be unknowable.Ken Weisshttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02049713123559138421noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1812431336777691886.post-32075013268292707942011-01-18T12:08:50.362-05:002011-01-18T12:08:50.362-05:00I suppose if the appearance of randomness is merel...I suppose if the appearance of randomness is merely an illusion of inscrutable causal determinism, then all scientific experiments with a mathematical analysis have only illusionary validity. In other words, there would be no validity to anything discovered by the scientific method. Does anybody agree or disagree with me on this?James Goetzhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/02412501436355228925noreply@blogger.com