News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on June 7, 2010 in News

Two great intros to Bayes’ Theorem, from opposite angles: Yudkowsky’s Intuitive Explanation of Bayes’ Theorem and komponisto’s Bayes’ Theorem Illustrated.

Jenny McCarthy body count.

How do we know that 1+1=2? A (video) journey into the foundations of math.

You Are Not So Smart: a blog about how we deceive ourselves.

The latest episode of Reasonable Doubts features a great conversation between Jeremy of Reasonable Doubts and two Christian podcasters about free will vs. determinism. Both sides are coming from totally opposite perspectives, and they spend a great deal of time trying to understand each other, so the it may be a helpful dialogue for those trying to work these issues out.

After 1.5 years, there are still no ads on this fairly popular site. However, people keep asking me to put up a donation link, so I put one in the sidebar. Go click on it if you want. That’s the last you’ll hear about it from me. :)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Eneasz June 8, 2010 at 7:43 am

Damn, some incredible links today. Mad props!


John D June 8, 2010 at 7:52 am


I was familiar with Ed’s intro to Bayesianism, but that visual one is awesome. Much more comprehensible for me at any rate.


Zeb June 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

I didn’t understand the math video. I thought 1+1=2 was basically a definition; not something we discover or prove, but something we agree to. I think the speaker was saying that his opinion is that math is only “true” in that it usefully models our world. Is that to say that it is most useful to have a single exclusive term for 1+1, so that you are not using “1″ to refer to 1+1, nor are you using “2″ and/or “3″?


Atheist.pig June 8, 2010 at 11:12 am

One of the things that we have evolved to discover on this planet is arithmetic. We didn’t invent it, we didn’t make it. We found it. It is eternal. A priori. True. It’s this great stuff and it’s true everywhere in the universe. It’s true anywhere in any universe. There’s only one arithmetic. Is that transcendent, I would say yes. I don’t know for sure what you mean by transcendent…

-Dan Dennett


Josh June 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I disagree with Dennett. Arithmetic is only universally true in the same way that the statement “Homosexuality is wrong” is universally true. That is to say, it’s only true, conditioned on some other hidden premises. In this case, it’s ZFC, or in a simpler case it could be the Peano axioms.

However, these are axioms. Math is definitely not universally true.


Almost Chris June 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm

The You are Not So Smart blog is fascinating. I was absorbed and stayed up late into the night reading every post. Thanks for that. I’ll keep an eye on it.


Hermes June 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

A note on the Dunning-Kruger Effect (noted on the excellent You are not so smart blog); there are substantive criticisms and corrections to the initial research. If you have the time, look at that as well so you don’t misunderstand what the current research has discovered and what the limits are. If you don’t have the time to look at everything, it’s still quite useful to read the initial paper.


JS Allen June 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Pure gold


Atheist.pig June 11, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Its hard to imagine a world in which basic arithmetic isn’t true.


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