Skepchick Quickies, 4.21


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. That second article is very interesting, although probably fraught with inaccuracy and speculation.
    Not to mention if people have to consider themselves to be evil or be perceived as such by others in order to gain this advantage. I suspect it’s the first, and hardly anybody genuinely thinks of themselves as “evil” I reckon.

  2. One of the saddest parts of the ESP study is this: they rejected anyone who didn’t believe the video of the person guessing cards was real and they rejected anyone who didn’t believe the statistics they were given (ex. science is accepting ESP as possible). Only 5 participants were excluded! Less than 5% of subjects picked up on the fact that the video might be a fake! No wonder the rest of them believed in ESP despite the science- I’d argue selection bias.

  3. If you want some amusing reading check out TED’s Facebook page and read the comments below the post of James Randi’s presentation. It truly is astounding how many woo filled folk watch TED talks and seem to think they are also rational thinkers and accuse Randi of being everything from an ignorant money grubbing crank to a cult leader.

  4. Displaced, while you make a good point about the nature of the video, the rejection of people who didn’t believe the stats should push in the other direction. The groups told that a high percentage of scientists accept ESP and believed it should be more wooful. Thus, one would expect that to artificially inflate the percentage who believe in ESP compared to the group of people who were told that scientists rejected ESP. So that bias should if anything go in the other direction.

  5. @grammarking – Am I reading this correctly?
    Does the article in the link you posted basically boil down to – If you repeat something often enough people believe it to be true?

  6. It’s actually rational the increase your estimated probability that something is true based on a lot of other people believing it is true. It’s low quality evidence, but it’s still evidence.

    However, the insignificant relationship between expert opinion and belief is quite disturbing.

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