Vacation gone awry essay

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Vacation gone awry essay

Tim Harford writes The Problem With Factswhich uses Brexit and Trump as jumping-off points to argue that people are mostly impervious to facts and resistant to logic: Facts, it seems, are toothless.

Trying to refute a bold, memorable lie with a fiddly set of facts can often serve to reinforce the myth. Important truths are often stale and dull, and it is easy to manufacture new, more engaging claims.

And giving people more facts can backfire, as those facts provoke a defensive reaction in someone who badly wants to stick to their existing world view.

I think this is generally a good article and makes important points, but there are three issues I want to highlight as possibly pointing to a deeper pattern. Harford expects us to be impressed by this study.

But how is this different from all of those social science facts to which he believes humans are mostly impervious? But given that the entire field is now in serious doubt, I feel like it would have been judicious to mention some of this in the article.

This is especially true given that the article itself is about the way that false ideas spread by people never double-checking their beliefs. Yet Harford writes an entire article about a worldwide plague of false beliefs without mustering enough vigilance to see if the relevant studies are true or not.

His key example is tobacco companies sowing doubt about the negative health effects of smoking — for example, he talks about tobacco companies sponsoring accurate research into all of the non-smoking-related causes of disease so that everyone focused on those instead.

But his solution — telling engaging stories, adding a human interest element, enjoyable documentaries in the style of Carl Sagan — seems unusually unsuited to the problem. The National Institute of Health can make an engaging human interest documentary about a smoker who got lung cancer.

And the tobacco companies can make an engaging human interest documentary about a guy who got cancer because of asbestos, then was saved by tobacco-sponsored research.

Opponents of Brexit can make an engaging documentary about all the reasons Brexit would be bad, and then proponents of Brexit can make an engaging documentary about all the reasons Brexit would be good. If you get good documentary-makers, I assume both will be equally convincing regardless of what the true facts are.

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All three of these points are slightly unfair. But I worry that taken together, they suggest an unspoken premise of the piece. The fundamental problem is one of transmission: Medical researchers have lots of useful facts about vaccines.

Statisticians know some great facts about the link between tobacco and cancer shame about Ronald Fisherthough. Probably there are even some social scientists who have a fact or two. Imagine a theory of jurisprudence designed only to smack down sovereign citizens, or a government pro-innovation policy based entirely on warning inventors against perpetual motion machines.

And in this wider context, part of me wonders if the focus on transmission is part of the problem. Everyone from statisticians to Brexiteers knows that they are right.

The only remaining problem is how to convince others.

Vacation gone awry essay

Go on Facebook and you will find a million people with a million different opinions, each confident in her own judgment, each zealously devoted to informing everyone else. They all fight each other for space at the blackboard, give lectures that nobody listens to, assign homework that nobody does.

When everyone gets abysmal test scores, one of the teachers has an idea: I need a more engaging curriculum.

Vacation gone awry essay

A new Nathan Robinson article: It goes through the same steps as the Harford article, this time from the perspective of the political Left. Some leftists think the answer is violence. In conclusion, Bernie Would Have Won.comment: I am a Ph.D.

student in public health and am contacting you concerning research on your risk communications principles. I am responding to your interest in having more research done on your risk communication principles as you mentioned in the guestbook post by Knut Tønsberg..

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