Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

Go to first entry



<< current
E-mail address:
jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

My Earthlink/Netcom Site

My Tweets

My other blogs
Small Sample Watch
XBM Graphics

The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
Boing Boing
Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
Foreign Dispatches
Good Math, Bad Math
Greenie Watch
The Hand Of Munger
Howard Lovy's NanoBot
Liberty's Torch
The Long View
My sister's blog
Neo Warmonger
Next Big Future
Out of Step Jew
Overcoming Bias
The Passing Parade
Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
Pictures of Math
Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
Respectful Insolence
Seriously Science
Slate Star Codex
The Speculist
The Technoptimist
Tools of Renewal
XBM Graphics
Zoe Brain

Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Friday, January 11, 2008

Problems with Being Future Oriented

Self-described “progressives” pride themselves on being on the side of the future.

One problem with being on the side of the future is that you might wind up on the side of a past vision of the future. Many of today's progressives are nostalgic for the days when socialism was the wave of the future.

There's an even bigger problem: Evidence always lies in the past. If you regard the past as the enemy, you might start thinking of evidence as the enemy.

Progressives have tried several ways to get around the above problem. They might decide their progressive opinions count as rationality offsets and relieve them of the need to supply evidence. They might cite their predictions as though they were data (e.g., global warming predictions). They might try citing evidence only from the recent past even though that restricts the sample size. They might even disregard the fact that info has no trend and assume that recent changes in opinion can be extrapolated into the future.

On the other hand, the effects of our actions always lie in the future. Just we should be past-oriented with respect to evidence, we should be future-oriented with respect to goals.

Addendum: Just a few minutes after posting the above I found a textbook example of citing predictions as though they were data:

They cut deals with the Sunnis, but soon those same Sunnis will be targeting the Shia government.


Post a Comment

<< Home

My Blogger Profile
eXTReMe Tracker X-treme Tracker

The Atom Feed This page is powered by Blogger.