cognitive biases

cognitive biases


Social Problems: Gun Control and Mass Shootings Analyzed

gun control August 12th, 2019

In this blog, I will aim to parse the gun violence issue. I thought to do so because I came across a compelling essay by Nicholas D. Kristof entitled “How to Win the Gun Control Argument.” I then went to go look it up by name in a Web search, and guess what popped up in the #2 slot? An article from the exact opposite perspective entitled “Winning the Gun Control Debate”. That is obviously enough to give one a headache. However, wisdom is the ideal guide to analyze the competing claims, complex issues, and difficult aspects of the gun control/gun violence social problem that currently plagues us. Next to the opioid epidemic, I would say that gun violence is a massive concern for American society – as it is for New Zealand, Norway, and every other country, practically. We live in difficult times, and at their worst, humans are basically clothed chimpanzees with semi-automatic rifles.

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When Heuristics Help, and When They Fail

heuristics June 13th, 2019

I was speaking with a big-time investor today. I have had about three hours of conversation so far. He certainly operates at a higher level and is in a very different class than I am (I don’t mean when it comes to generally what depth of a person he is – authenticity or generosity or decency). I am talking about the folks he knows, the deals he has done, the net worth he has accumulated, the risks he has taken, and the knowledge he has under his belt is just clearly a few levels above me. He is older than I, and has been at it longer and excelled in it. How does a person of my intelligence and experience level suss out whether this man is all he is cracked up to be? Can he be enormously helpful to me as a mentor, or am I just a fish he has on the hook? In the human mind, prejudices and cognitive biases abound, so wisdom is really what is called for. In the field of applied philosophy, a thing called heuristics can help, but they can also fail.

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Journalism: Its About Truth and Integrity

journalism May 11th, 2018

It seems like every day we hear Donald Trump mock, deride, impugn, and belittle the news media as “fake” or sub-par. If I had to register my agreement or disagreement with that assessment, I would say I am 75% “calling bullshit” on him, and 25% in agreement. In this blog, I will share a few thoughts about the state, dignity, role, function, ethics, potential, and problems of modern newspapers, magazines, newszines, and television and cable news networks. Blogs I don’t know too much about so I will leave alone. In a word, I believe that journalism is marred by some tragic flaws, if you will, but has enough potential that we need to enliven, rehabilitate, and bolster it.

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Evaluating Evidence: A Superlative Skill

evaluating evidence January 30th, 2018

Evaluating evidence is a superlative skill. That is, if one can sift through various claims and find the truth (or at least, the validity of a particular question or issue), one is at a great advantage in this world. Indeed, there are compelling reasons to hold that an ability to see two sides of an argument – both with passionate and seemingly-confident defenders – is a critical skill. Rare though it may be, and challenging as it is, it will pay huge dividends if one can harness this power. In this blog, I will present examples of complex dilemmas that call for a keen mind and an excellent skill set.

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