= "Social Analysis and Programming"

Ideology, experts, and Dan Kahan

Published by Skeptikos on Apr 15, 2015

Dan Kahan and his colleagues released a new study. It's on one of my favorite topics— motivated reasoning.

In the paper, Kahan and his colleagues ran an experiment to determine whether judges let ideology influence their decisions. They recruited 253 judges, and asked them to decide hypothetical cases designed to provoke politically-motivated bias in the decisions. The outcome?: No evidence that judges are politically biased.

According to the authors, the results support the “domain-specific immunity” ... Read more

Delusions of Bitcoin Grandeur

Published by Skeptikos on Mar 2, 2015

How well do Bitcoin experts know Bitcoin? Not well at all, according to a set of predictions by 48 "experts" last year.

Asked to predict the price of a Bitcoin in one year, all but one overestimated its future value, with more than half getting the price wrong by at least an order of magnitude.

And I calculated that with their low end estimates.

Some of the predictions were so wrong — more than 100 or 200 times the actual price of a Bitcoin — that I couldn't fit them on the graph:



If you ... Read more

A brief response to Josh Erickson (petty and Keene-centric)

Published by Skeptikos on Aug 11, 2014

This is a response to Josh Erickson’s post here, which, in turn, is a response to my letter to the editor here. (I love how Josh refuses to link to my original piece. I must be truly despicable!) Anyway, the main points:


You know nothing [about Free Keene/Stop Free Keene], Will May.

Actually, I lived in Keene from 2008 to 2013, and was heavily involved in the libertarian activist scene for the entire duration. From about 2009 onward, after I got annoyed at the 420 protests — you know, like normal Keeniacs ... Read more

Tags: Libertarianism Free State Project Free Keene New Hampshire

How libertarians go wrong

Published by Skeptikos on Aug 1, 2014

There’s a recurring theme in libertarian writing, that liberals mistakenly support left-wing policies because they haven’t bothered to think things through. More often, though, it’s the libertarians who get confused.

Look at Cathy Reisenwitz’s recent article “Kristen Bell is the Latest Celebrity to Fail at Politics and Economics” for an example. She argues that minimum wage supporters don’t understand economics.

Ironically, Cathy herself commits a stream of errors. She writes:

“Raising ... Read more

Tags: Libertarianism

Against conscience / for utility

Published by Skeptikos on Jul 21, 2014

Bryan Caplan argues that even dedicated utilitarians are poor utilitarians, and this supposedly shows that, on some level, they aren’t actually utilitarians – their consciences oppose their utilitarian beliefs.

Not long ago he wrote that consequentialism is inherently authoritarian, and presumably that explains this post. Basically, if Bryan Caplan accepts utilitarianism (a form of consequentialism), he’ll be under more pressure to abandon free market anarchism. So the utilitarianism has to go.

The argument ... Read more

Tags: Libertarianism