Yet another weird SF fan


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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.

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