Below some questions that it can be helpful to revisit every now and then when analyzing beliefs one holds:
Very few ideas we hold are ideas we come up with ourselves. What happens is that someone introduces us to an argument. Later on a counterargument is introduced. Often the timing of these things matter a lot; people are often more likely to pick the first side that’s presented to them, especially if they’re encouraged to invest in it early on. However one is also more likely to remember the last argument one heard than the first one. So it’s certainly worth asking: Who presented the idea to you first? How long ago is it? Did you last hear an argument in favour of your belief or an argument against it? If a belief is introduced to you by someone close to you, like a spouse or (if you’re young?) a parent – or someone you look up to and/or would like to impress – then you’re all else equal more likely to be biased and you should act as if the belief in question is less likely to be correct than it would be if a person you didn’t know had presented the idea to you.
How long have you held the belief? All else equal, you should be more skeptical about beliefs you’ve held for a long time. Beliefs we hold for a long time tend to be or become part of the wallpaper – and beliefs you’re not even aware that you hold may still influence you in various ways. If you don’t remember the answers to some of the previous questions, you shouldn’t just ignore them; a better idea would probably be to become more skeptical.
How confident are you that your belief is right? I don’t believe it’s particularly useful to quantify this kind of stuff in detail, but this is a question one should ask oneself from time to time. Changes in confidence levels are important, as are stationary confidence levels.
Do you consider this belief to be an important part of who you are? Could you imagine being wrong about this? What would being wrong about this belief imply? How many other beliefs you hold are contingent upon this particular belief of yours?
Do other people you know share your point of view? Have they influenced you (not just by introducing you to the idea)? Has belief convergence taken place? Do you know people who do not share your belief? Does the disagreement make you perceive them in a different light – how do you feel about people who do not share your belief? Have you ever felt/do you feel that people who hold different beliefs are ‘less worthy’, that they are ‘stupid’, or perhaps that they ‘don’t understand the issue’?
How much time have you spent thinking about the belief? How much of that time was spent gathering data? Which kind of data? Have you spent enough time and/or seen enough data to even have an opinion about this?
People who openly question your beliefs are much more likely to be useful to you when it comes to obtaining correct beliefs about the world than are people who do not. People who are more detached, who care less about specific beliefs, are also likely to be able to help you – they’re less likely to think of open disagreement as a personal attack or as a signal of tribal disloyalty that ought to be punished. Do you take advantage of this fact? Do you have ways to figure out if your belief is wrong, or whether a different belief might be better? If you do, do you use them optimally – could you use them better, or is it perhaps possible for you to find better ways to test your beliefs than the ones you use now?
Do you somehow stand to benefit from holding the belief you do? If other people held your belief, would that make you look good? Is the belief somehow very convenient?
Who other than you care about your belief? Is it important? How important is the belief in question when it comes to ‘real world stuff’? Do you care just because you care – or does your stance actually have major real life consequences? Could these be downplayed if you wanted them to be?
We can’t always ask these questions – they take time and effort, and if we had to think about all that stuff every time we were to make a decision we’d all starve to death. But questions such as these should enter the mind from time to time.
A ‘sufficient’/'proper’ degree of skepticism about your own beliefs will incidentally undoubtedly sometimes make you lose an argument you’d otherwise have won. I consider that outcome to be perfectly acceptable as arguments should not be about winning, but about learning new stuff. If you care a lot about whether you win or lose an argument, you’re arguing with the wrong people and/or you’re not arguing in an optimal manner.
Another one of Paul Graham’s essays, you can read it here. I’ll quote extensively from it below.
“Adults lie constantly to kids. I’m not saying we should stop, but I think we should at least examine which lies we tell and why.
There may also be a benefit to us. We were all lied to as kids, and some of the lies we were told still affect us. So by studying the ways adults lie to kids, we may be able to clear our heads of lies we were told.
I’m using the word “lie” in a very general sense: not just overt falsehoods, but also all the more subtle ways we mislead kids. Though “lie” has negative connotations, I don’t mean to suggest we should never do this—just that we should pay attention when we do. 
One of the most remarkable things about the way we lie to kids is how broad the conspiracy is. All adults know what their culture lies to kids about: they’re the questions you answer “Ask your parents.” If a kid asked who won the World Series in 1982 or what the atomic weight of carbon was, you could just tell him. But if a kid asks you “Is there a God?” or “What’s a prostitute?” you’ll probably say “Ask your parents.”
Since we all agree, kids see few cracks in the view of the world presented to them. The biggest disagreements are between parents and schools, but even those are small. Schools are careful what they say about controversial topics, and if they do contradict what parents want their kids to believe, parents either pressure the school into keeping quiet or move their kids to a new school.
The conspiracy is so thorough that most kids who discover it do so only by discovering internal contradictions in what they’re told. It can be traumatic for the ones who wake up during the operation. Here’s what happened to Einstein:
Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies: it was a crushing impression.
I remember that feeling. By 15 I was convinced the world was corrupt from end to end. That’s why movies like The Matrix have such resonance. Every kid grows up in a fake world. In a way it would be easier if the forces behind it were as clearly differentiated as a bunch of evil machines, and one could make a clean break just by taking a pill.
If you ask adults why they lie to kids, the most common reason they give is to protect them. And kids do need protecting. The environment you want to create for a newborn child will be quite unlike the streets of a big city.
That seems so obvious it seems wrong to call it a lie. It’s certainly not a bad lie to tell, to give a baby the impression the world is quiet and warm and safe. But this harmless type of lie can turn sour if left unexamined. [...]
A lot of the things adults conceal from smaller children, they conceal because they’d be frightening, not because they want to conceal the existence of such things. Misleading the child is just a byproduct.
This seems one of the most justifiable types of lying adults do to kids. But because the lies are indirect we don’t keep a very strict accounting of them. Parents know they’ve concealed the facts about sex, and many at some point sit their kids down and explain more. But few tell their kids about the differences between the real world and the cocoon they grew up in. Combine this with the confidence parents try to instill in their kids, and every year you get a new crop of 18 year olds who think they know how to run the world. [...]
Another reason parents don’t want their kids having sex is that they want to keep them innocent. Adults have a certain model of how kids are supposed to behave, and it’s different from what they expect of other adults. [...]
One reason we want kids to be innocent is that we’re programmed to like certain kinds of helplessness. I’ve several times heard mothers say they deliberately refrained from correcting their young children’s mispronunciations because they were so cute. And if you think about it, cuteness is helplessness. Toys and cartoon characters meant to be cute always have clueless expressions and stubby, ineffectual limbs.
It’s not surprising we’d have an inborn desire to love and protect helpless creatures, considering human offspring are so helpless for so long. Without the helplessness that makes kids cute, they’d be very annoying. They’d merely seem like incompetent adults. [...]
Innocence is also open-mindedness. We want kids to be innocent so they can continue to learn. Paradoxical as it sounds, there are some kinds of knowledge that get in the way of other kinds of knowledge. If you’re going to learn that the world is a brutal place full of people trying to take advantage of one another, you’re better off learning it last. Otherwise you won’t bother learning much more. [...]
After sex, death is the topic adults lie most conspicuously about to kids. Sex I believe they conceal because of deep taboos. But why do we conceal death from kids? Probably because small children are particularly horrified by it. They want to feel safe, and death is the ultimate threat. [...]
Along with such outright lies, there must have been a lot of changing the subject when death came up. I can’t remember that, of course, but I can infer it from the fact that I didn’t really grasp I was going to die till I was about 19. How could I have missed something so obvious for so long? Now that I’ve seen parents managing the subject, I can see how: questions about death are gently but firmly turned aside.
On this topic, especially, they’re met half-way by kids. Kids often want to be lied to. They want to believe they’re living in a comfortable, safe world as much as their parents want them to believe it.  [...]
Telling a child they have a particular ethnic or religious identity is one of the stickiest things you can tell them. Almost anything else you tell a kid, they can change their mind about later when they start to think for themselves. But if you tell a kid they’re a member of a certain group, that seems nearly impossible to shake.
This despite the fact that it can be one of the most premeditated lies parents tell. When parents are of different religions, they’ll often agree between themselves that their children will be “raised as Xes.” And it works. The kids obligingly grow up considering themselves as Xes, despite the fact that if their parents had chosen the other way, they’d have grown up considering themselves as Ys.
One reason this works so well is the second kind of lie involved. The truth is common property. You can’t distinguish your group by doing things that are rational, and believing things that are true. If you want to set yourself apart from other people, you have to do things that are arbitrary, and believe things that are false. And after having spent their whole lives doing things that are arbitrary and believing things that are false, and being regarded as odd by “outsiders” on that account, the cognitive dissonance pushing children to regard themselves as Xes must be enormous. If they aren’t an X, why are they attached to all these arbitrary beliefs and customs? If they aren’t an X, why do all the non-Xes call them one?
This form of lie is not without its uses. You can use it to carry a payload of beneficial beliefs, and they will also become part of the child’s identity. You can tell the child that in addition to never wearing the color yellow, believing the world was created by a giant rabbit, and always snapping their fingers before eating fish, Xes are also particularly honest and industrious. Then X children will grow up feeling it’s part of their identity to be honest and industrious.
This probably accounts for a lot of the spread of modern religions, and explains why their doctrines are a combination of the useful and the bizarre. The bizarre half is what makes the religion stick, and the useful half is the payload. 
One of the least excusable reasons adults lie to kids is to maintain power over them. Sometimes these lies are truly sinister, like a child molester telling his victims they’ll get in trouble if they tell anyone what happened to them. Others seem more innocent; it depends how badly adults lie to maintain their power, and what they use it for.
Most adults make some effort to conceal their flaws from children. [...]
But because adults conceal their flaws, and at the same time insist on high standards of behavior for kids, a lot of kids grow up feeling they fall hopelessly short. They walk around feeling horribly evil for having used a swearword, while in fact most of the adults around them are doing much worse things.
This happens in intellectual as well as moral questions. The more confident people are, the more willing they seem to be to answer a question “I don’t know.” Less confident people feel they have to have an answer or they’ll look bad. My parents were pretty good about admitting when they didn’t know things, but I must have been told a lot of lies of this type by teachers, because I rarely heard a teacher say “I don’t know” till I got to college. I remember because it was so surprising to hear someone say that in front of a class. [...]
Of all the reasons we lie to kids, the most powerful is probably the same mundane reason they lie to us.
Often when we lie to people it’s not part of any conscious strategy, but because they’d react violently to the truth. Kids, almost by definition, lack self-control. They react violently to things—and so they get lied to a lot. 
A few Thanksgivings ago, a friend of mine found himself in a situation that perfectly illustrates the complex motives we have when we lie to kids. As the roast turkey appeared on the table, his alarmingly perceptive 5 year old son suddenly asked if the turkey had wanted to die. Foreseeing disaster, my friend and his wife rapidly improvised: yes, the turkey had wanted to die, and in fact had lived its whole life with the aim of being their Thanksgiving dinner. And that (phew) was the end of that.
Whenever we lie to kids to protect them, we’re usually also lying to keep the peace.
One consequence of this sort of calming lie is that we grow up thinking horrible things are normal. It’s hard for us to feel a sense of urgency as adults over something we’ve literally been trained not to worry about. When I was about 10 I saw a documentary on pollution that put me into a panic. It seemed the planet was being irretrievably ruined. I went to my mother afterward to ask if this was so. I don’t remember what she said, but she made me feel better, so I stopped worrying about it.
That was probably the best way to handle a frightened 10 year old. But we should understand the price. This sort of lie is one of the main reasons bad things persist: we’re all trained to ignore them. [...]
We arrive at adulthood with a kind of truth debt. We were told a lot of lies to get us (and our parents) through our childhood. Some may have been necessary. Some probably weren’t. But we all arrive at adulthood with heads full of lies.
There’s never a point where the adults sit you down and explain all the lies they told you. They’ve forgotten most of them. So if you’re going to clear these lies out of your head, you’re going to have to do it yourself.
Few do. Most people go through life with bits of packing material adhering to their minds and never know it. You probably never can completely undo the effects of lies you were told as a kid, but it’s worth trying. I’ve found that whenever I’ve been able to undo a lie I was told, a lot of other things fell into place.”
So, a few remarks here. First, when I realized that Santa Claus was not real, I like to think (our memories can deceive us, but this is the narrative my persona has chosen) that it had a huge impact on my world view. That was the first time I truly realized that my parents were actively lying to me about stuff, that they didn’t always tell me the truth; that they’d lie even about important stuff like whether Santa Claus existed. I like to think it made me smarter, more skeptic, less innocent – and it made me a little less trusting. I figured out that grownups have selfish reasons for lying to me/’us’, because of the link between presents from Santa and the way you behaved. And lots of people (grownups) could be in on a lie (no grown-up in the extended family had ever openly questioned Santa’s existence in my presence), so it was hard to know whom to trust. I didn’t figure out the truth completely on my own; my older brother let it slip at one point, but it still took me a while to process that information. That teachers aren’t always telling/knowing the truth I knew long before Paul Graham did, because my parents never did much to hide that fact – I assume I had a few of those ‘but the teacher said…’ ‘the teacher is wrong’-experiences along the way. Lastly, when I realized Santa wasn’t real it made me take a big step towards atheism, because this realization made it much harder for me to come up with plausible reasons why ‘God’ should be real, because God and Santa were sorta-kinda alike; they both monitored you while you were awake and they judged your thoughts and actions, even though you couldn’t see them…
The Santa story above I bring up because this is one aspect of lying to kids that Paul Graham does not mention: Maybe adults can sometimes tell children the truth more efficiently by lying to them than by just simply telling them the truth. If you tell a kid that other people often lie to them, they’ll process that information in a very different way from how they’d process the actual experience of being deliberately lied to and and then figuring out on their own that you were lying to them (the lie should be sufficiently transparent for them to eventually be able to figure out the truth; this kind of lie will only work if there is some plausible way for the kid to realize that the lie is actually a lie). Being lied to by someone you trust and then figuring out that they lied to you is a very different process from just being told that ‘people lie/I lie to you sometimes…’; a more complex process with added uncertainty, doubts, questioning worldview/authority ect. The latter process is much more efficient to bring the point across. It arguably works for grownups too; going through such a process can sometimes be considered a kind of rite of passage for grownups. Of course when arguing this point it’s worth remembering, as alluded to earlier, that some kinds of lies are undoubtedly better suited for this purpose than others.
Yes, in case you were in doubt i have actually considered deliberately lying to an at this point highly theoretical potential future child of mine about Santa, for some of these reasons. Most people are irrational and cling to stupid beliefs. If you’ve never held any stupid, irrational beliefs that you invested significantly in yourself at some point, only to later realize that you’d been dead wrong all along, I would assume that it would be exceedingly difficult to understand how most people actually ‘work’. And being forced to realize that you had been very wrong about something you felt somewhat strongly about would give you at least two valuable lessons. 1. Being able to admit that you were wrong. 2. You would get a big step closer to the answer to the question: How does it feel like being wrong about something? (Answer: It feels like being right. A brilliant way of putting it, thanks Gwern!)
From this paper – Comparative longitudinal structural analyses of the growth and decline of multiple intellectual abilities over the life span.
On a related if tangential note; I tend to do better on some of the measures included than I do on others. I tend to do well on some of the kinds of measures of intellectual ability – and/or (depending on who you ask..) measures which correlate significantly with intellectual ability – that are relatively easily observable, and I think some people, including some of the readers of this blog, overestimate me for that reason. There are people out there who can calculate the inverses of 2 3×3 matrices, then proceed to calculate the Kronecker product of the matrices and then move on to finally calculate the determinant of the resulting 9×9 matrix in a ridiculously short amount of time, and/or perhaps even without writing anything down along the way. I’m not one of those people and there are a lot of people in between me and them. (Now, you might argue that such an ability is easily observable but the kind of observability I have in mind here is one which relates to the social context.)
Here’s another one from the same presentation:
Google Reader: 1
(google images links): 2
Total views referred by links to your blog: 5″
Google Reader: 1
(another google images link): 1
Total views referred by links to your blog: 83″
Most likely none of those ~80 additional readers will ever revisit the blog. But I’m still surprised at the impact such a link can have. Of course the number keeps growing at the moment as more people click the link.
I should probably thank William for putting up the link – done.
The rest of the family just left for church and everything is pretty much ready already, so I thought I might as well update now that I have the time to do it.
I started reading Austen Wednesday afternoon, finished last night. It’s a wonderful book [tak Ulla!].
1) A follow-up on the poll I set up a long time ago. 7 people had mentioned this blog at some point in interpersonal communication that did not take place online. As I mentioned on the twitter, I assume that I’ve lost quite a bit of readers along the way, so the total number of people who has mentioned this blog to others the good old ‘mouth-to-mouth’ (or is it ‘mouth to ear’?) way is likely higher (/significantly higher?) than 10. I did not see that one coming at all, I had this idea that (my kind of) blogging and (-ll-) blog-reading was quite a bit more ‘isolationist’, with much less overlap between blogs and Real Life. At most I’d have thought a couple of readers had mentioned the blog to a friend at some point and that’d be it.
Only one respondent had not mentioned any blog at all in an interpersonal communication setting that did not take place online. Far most readers, 10 out of 12, seem to talk regularly with other people about the stuff that they read on blogs. People who read blogs usually read quite a bit more than just one, that was no surprise to me; it’s very easy for me to see when a potential new long-term reader – or at least someone who thought something I wrote was interesting (?) – has stumbled upon my blog. It usually means that 10 or more of the links on the blog-roll get an extra click that day. The most common number of blogs the readers follow on a regular basis was 8-10.
2) Would I be blogging if I had a girlfriend and a few relatively close friends with whom I spent some time with on a regular basis? Another way to ask a similar question would be: Would I have had a girlfriend by now if I’d spent the time I’ve spent blogging (and doing blogging-related activities, like reading wikipedia or some random books) looking for a partner instead? Would that outcome have been preferable to me?
I’m not sure I like the answers to these questions.
3) Responsibility sucks, I hate that part about being an adult. There, now I’ve said it. At least I’m honest about it.
Spørgsmålene drejer sig vel nok mest om, hvor isoleret blogging-verdenen egentligt er, og hvor meget overlap der finder sted mellem online-verdenen og ‘Real Life’. Det tager 10 sekunder at svare, og jeg kan umuligt være den eneste, der er bare lidt interesseret i svarene på disse spørgsmål. Uddyb meget gerne i kommentarsektionen. Svar fra ikke-regelmæssige læsere som ‘nu’ læser posten to uger efter den blev postet er meget velkomne, hvis du vil være sikker på at din feedback registreres så efterlad gerne en kommentar.
I spørgsmål 3 står det dig frit for selv at definere hvad der menes med ‘ofte’. Mht. mine egne svar på de pågældende spørgsmål, så har jeg mange gange nævnt ny viden/forskning/mv. som jeg har fra blogs (og wikipedia) i forbindelse med samtaler med min familie, og jeg taler ikke regelmæssigt med ret mange andre. Men jeg har formentligt kun en håndfuld gange nævnt den specifikke blog i disse samtaler, både fordi det er vanskeligt for mig at huske, hvor informationen kommer fra, med mindre det er helt frisk information, men også fordi informationen i sig selv, naturligvis i det omfang den faktisk har interesse, for modtager synes at være det eneste relevante interesseobjekt, ikke kilden.
Jeg har indtryk af, at meget af den aktivitet der finder sted på blogs osv. er relativt isoleret fra resten af personens gøremål, og at de fleste er utilbøjelige til at inddrage blog-relaterede aktiviteter i sociale sammenhænge ‘offline’, men jeg ved det faktisk ikke med nogen grad af sikkerhed, det er bare et indtryk. Det afhænger selvfølgelig af bloggen, men blogs som denne – især efter den løbende transitionsperiode som har fundet sted de sidste par år, hvor jeg i vidt omfang har erstattet de politiske posts med videnstunge artikler o.l. – og læserne, ville jeg forvente havde en sådan profil. Man læser vel i vidt omfang bloggen, og kommenterer, i det omfang man gør det, her, fordi det er svært at finde folk ‘ude i det virkelige liv’, der er interesserede i de ting, der skrives om på bloggen, korrekt?
…de fleste type 1 diabetikere ved, hvordan det føles. De har selv prøvet det. Jeg prøvede det for en time siden. Blodsukkeret er kommet op igen nu.
I den situation handler ALT om Mad. Drikke. Kalorier. Energi. Maven føles som et stort hul midt i kroppen, det gør ondt, tarmene skriger. Mens hjernen langsomt slår fra og lukker ned kan du slet ikke tænke på andet end mad, udover hvor dejligt det ville være at lægge sig ned, lukke øjenlågene og sove. Dødsensfarlig ide, men det er biologien og instinkterne, der dikterer tankevirksomheden, ikke det mætte individ med den velfungerende hjerne. Resten af kroppen slår fra ligesom hjernen, somme tider kommer muskelkramperne (fingre, tæer, arme, ben) før bevidstløsheden, somme tider bagefter. Muskelsvagheden kommer før, det forudsigelige temperaturfald og gåsehuden gør også. Hvis ikke du får noget at spise inden hjernen slår helt fra, mister du bevidstløsheden. Ved hypoglykæmi er pulsen tårnhøj, indtil den ikke længere er det, hjertet galoperer afsted, indtil det ikke længere gør det, adrenalinen strømmer ud i kroppen; den ved, at det er sidste udkald, og gør hvad den kan. Hvis blodsukkeret falder tilstrækkeligt meget, eller insulinmængden som resulterede i anfaldet er af en sådan størrelse at selv betydelig indtag af letoptagelige kulhydrater ikke løser problemet, kan mave-tarm-systemet blive påvirket, således at maven ikke kan håndtere den mad eller drikker, der kommer indenbords – så taler vi opkastning og ambulance. Hovedet fungerer ikke normalt i forbindelse med hypoglykæmi; tanken om mad dominerer alt andet, så længe man er relativt klar, men det bliver man ikke ved med at være, og efterhånden som tiden går og blodsukkeret falder, går man efterhånden ind i en drømme-lignende tilstand – jeg har flere gange i forbindelse med meget svære hypoglykæmier i min ungdom bildt mig selv ind, at det hele bare var en drøm, at jeg snart ville vågne op og alt ville være i den skønneste orden. Når kroppen lukker ned betyder det også, at diabetikeren kan risikere eksempelvis at miste kontrollen over blæremuskulaturen i forbindelse med svær hypoglykæmi (også noget jeg selv har prøvet).
En tanke trænger sig på efterfølgende: Hvad nu, hvis situationen ikke var forårsaget af diabetes; hvad nu, hvis jeg ikke boede i Danmark; ikke havde juice i køleskabet, som kunne rette op på problemet; ikke havde diabetes, men simpelthen bare var døden nær af sult, fordi jeg ikke havde spist i dagevis? Tro mig, når blodsukkeret er lavt nok, er det sådan type 1 diabetikere har det, som om de ikke har spist i en evighed. Du kender efter al sandsynlighed ikke den følelse af sult og den er ikke nem at beskrive. Du har ikke lyst til at opleve den.
Du skal spise og drikke hver dag, og hvis du ikke får nok at spise vil du dø af sult. Det er et livsfaktum. Type 1 diabetikeres kroppe minder dem jævnligt om dette faktum, men de fleste danskere tænker slet ikke over dette længere, de tager bare mad og drikke mere eller mindre for givet. Man er fattig, når man ikke har råd til en I-pod? I tusinder af år kredsede næsten hele menneskets tilværelse omkring, hvordan folk kunne få maven fyldt i tilstrækkelig grad til at overleve, det være sig til næste dag eller næste forår. Det var det, livet handlede om, alt andet var luksus; et i sig selv relativt nyt begreb, som vi kun har defineret og kender til, fordi vi har det så godt, som vi har det.
Mennesker i de udviklede verden påskønner slet ikke i tilstrækkelig grad, hvor godt de (/vi) har det.
Jeg burde ikke omtale det. Hit nummer 99.999 er nu engang objektivt set ikke hverken mere eller mindre væsentlig end hit nummer 100.001, og begge hits er faktisk pænt ligegyldige. Men jeg kan ikke lade være.
Tak til de faste og semi-faste læsere for fortsat at få det til at give bare en smule mening at blogge.
Plasmalemma, organeller, emulsion, fibroblast, konduktivitet, hydrofob tiltrækning, kovalente bindinger, van der Waalske kræfter, aminosyre-pulje, karboxylgruppe, zwitterioner, peptid-bindinger, alfa-helix, multi-subunit protein, lipider, triacylglyceroler, glykolipider, polymerisering, Watson-Crick-modellen, ribosomal-RNA.
Alle begreber stammer fra det indledende kapitel af Finn Geneser’s bog Histologi, en bog jeg har fået lov til at låne af en medicinstuderende (‘ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies‘ – den intelligente læser kan utvivlsomt forbinde punkterne uden min hjælp…) og derfor læser lidt i for tiden. Der er flere, hvor de kom fra. Det er en af de indledende bøger på studiet, så hvis du har lidt viden i forvejen om biologi og kemi er bogen til at gå til. Selvom jeg ikke fanger 100 procent af materialet, er det (indtil videre) intet problem at forstå det meste.
Nogle få løse bemærkninger ikke nødvendigvis relateret til ovenstående:
1) At jeg ikke antager, at en fagperson pr. automatik har ret – og det gør jeg ikke – betyder ikke, at jeg ikke vægter deres holdninger højere end andres. Jeg må også være åben og sige lige ud, at jeg diskriminerer på tværs af fagområder: Jo mere empirisk det pågældende fagområde er, jo højere vægter jeg ceteris paribus fagpersonens bidrag.
2) Den eksplosion i tilgængeligheden af (online) information, vi som samfund har oplevet over de sidste par årtier, har efter min mening sandsynligvis bevirket, at ikke-fagpersoner overvurderer, hvor meget de kan vide om et givet emne uden at åbne en bog. Det er enormt svært at sætte sig ind i et emne helt fra bunden uden at åbne en bog, bl.a. fordi det er så pokkers svært at finde ud af, hvad det egentligt er, man bør vide først (rækkefølgen man lærer ting i er for de fleste fagområder aldeles afgørende, og uden at optimere denne del af læringsprocessen er det meget vanskeligt at forbinde de ting, man ved). Omfanget af tilgængelig viden har fået ‘folk’ til at tro, at de hurtigt kan indhente den relevante viden, de mangler, og at ‘grundviden/basisviden’ i vidt omfang er overvurderet. Jeg tror, de ‘folk’, der tror dette, tager fejl. Informationseksplosionen har ikke kun gjort det (endnu mere…) umuligt at vide alt som person (huske alting), det har også gjort det umuligt at tilegne sig (forstå) bare en brøkdel af den viden, der faktisk er tilgængelig. Problemet omtales formentligt ikke oftere, fordi det er uløseligt, men at det er uløseligt gør det ikke uvæsentligt – nærmest tværtimod, ville være min mening.
3) Uddannelse er en enormt dårlig proxy for intelligens/IQ.
4) Og… uddannelse er en ekstremt omkostningsineffektiv proxy for de ting, virksomheder bruger uddannelse til i dag.
5) Jeg ville hade at læse Geneser’s bog, hvis jeg gik på medicinstudiet, men jeg finder, at den er fascinerende læsning, fordi jeg ikke gør. Jeg synes altid den viden, man skal tilegne sig af den ene eller anden grund, er hamrende kedelig. Hvis jeg kunne overbevise mig selv om, at det var sjovt at lære ting, jeg skulle lære, ville jeg have en helt anden fremtid foran mig, end jeg har, og mit studie ville være forløbet meget anderledes.
I did not expect to ever get close to that when I started this blog. Just as I never expected to get 100.000 hits, a number I’ll likely reach in just a few more months.
So yeah, there are a lot of posts here on this blog by now. If you ever feel like reading some stuff I’ve written about a particular subject, you can use the categories or the search function in the sidebar to navigate. I’ve tried during the lifetime of this blog to make this kind of navigation easier than it used to be, and I do believe I’ve become a lot better at using the categories than I used to be. Quite a few of the categories actually by now have a post volume that I think make them worthwhile using.
Both when it comes to posts I’ve already written and when it comes to posts I have yet to write, I’d like to make it clear that you can’t take it for granted that you’ll always be able to go back to the post on my blog. You should save the post somewhere else if you think it’s worth saving. I don’t write many of those posts anyway, but just in case you stumble upon one or two, keep this in mind.
[Comments in Danish are, as always, welcome]
About the author
Student of economics from Denmark.
Here’s a link that will tell you a bit more about me.
I write almost exclusively in English. I prefer to write under a pseudonym.
US on Are chess players smart? gwern on Are chess players smart? Emil on The Gospel of the Flying Spagh… US on The Gospel of the Flying Spagh… jonnyscaramanga on The Gospel of the Flying Spagh…
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