Dec 08 2017

In Half a Second

If you have not yet read Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, I recommend it. I have discussed its basic principles here many times, and I am reminded of it by a new study that evaluates how we quickly size-up groups of people.

Before we get to the study, here is a quick overview. Kahneman and Tversky did the foundational research into cognitive biases and heuristics – ways in which our thinking is biased or constrained. Kahneman calls this system 1 thinking, or intuitive thinking, which is the fast sort. There is also system 2 thinking, which is slow and analytical.

He admits that these are metaphors, there probably aren’t two distinct biological systems in our brains, but they help us think about the different ways in which we think. Actually, given that our brains are hierarchical, the two-system model may be based in biology to some extent. There are the primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1 – instinctive, emotional, and fast. Then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making. I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is probably more true than not.

In any case, the two systems work together to shape our perceptions and decision-making. The idea is that we evolved rapid-response cognitive systems that makes quick and dirty judgments that are accurate enough and biased in whatever direction favors survival. We can then follow up these quick perceptions with more careful analysis when we have time.

But also, we are fundamentally lazy, which we can less judgmentally characterize as being efficient. We seem to always be looking for ways to minimize our cognitive work. So we rely on system 1 automatic thinking probably more than we should. We also have a tendency to substitute easy problems for more difficult ones.

For example, we have a left number bias. There actually is a reason that items cost $19.99 instead of $20.00. We know rationally that the penny difference is insignificant, but we don’t spend the mental energy to think about it. We have a tendency to substitute a simpler algorithm – how big is the left most digit, for the slightly more involved task of analyzing the entire number. $19.99 feels smaller than $20.00. This is a reasonable short cut, if numbers are random, but the short cut is easily exploited by crafting prices that end in all 9s.

Perception of Groups

With that background, let’s take a look at a new paper published in Social Psychological and Personality Science called, “Threat in the Company of Men: Ensemble Perception and Threat Evaluations of Groups Varying in Sex Ratio.”

Previous research has found that people can very quickly determine what general category another person belongs to – male, female, race, and age. We can also very quickly (less than a second) determine someone’s emotional state – are they happy or angry.

This makes sense from a survival point of view. An angry young adult male is likely to be more of a threat than a happy old woman. We can almost instantly make that determination, and then dedicate more resources to further evaluating the threat represented by the angry young male. Are they armed, are they looking at me, are they alone?

This is also interesting because perception research has shown that sometimes the age, sex, and race of a person is all we really perceive about them. You can see videos demonstrating this online. About half the time, if you switch one person for another during a casual social interaction, the subject won’t notice the change. The probability of detecting the change in person goes up if you change age category, sex, or race.

What this may reflect is that we don’t notice the change if there is no change in perceived threat category.

The new study extends this research to groups. They had subjects quickly view pictures of groups of people and then asked them various things. They asked them to estimate the ratio of men to women, and to evaluate how threatening the group was. The researchers also measured indirect implicit markers of threat perception.

They found that in 500 ms, half a second, subjects were able to accurately perceive the male:female ratio of groups. This ratio also was the main factor in determining their assessment of how threatening the group was. The total number of males was also a factor.

What this suggests is that our system 1 easy problem that our brains use to rapidly assess potential threat of a group is how many men does the group contain in total and what is the ratio of men to women. We can get this information in a flash.

And again, it is easy to make sense of this in terms of survival advantage. Primate war parties generally consist of all males. If you come across a group of 20 males, they are probably up to no good. A mixed group of half females, however, is probably not going to war or hunting, but may just be a traveling social group.

Of course this is not always true – that’s the point. It is just true enough to lead to a quick 500 ms snap impression that will alert us to a potential threat. We can then take a closer look (from a hidden vantage point, perhaps) to more thoroughly evaluate the potential threat.

By coincidence I happen to be watching Godless – an excellent miniseries, by the way. This takes place in the old West and in part follows the exploits of an outlaw band of thirty men. The premise of the show is that the West at this time was a very dangerous place. Any time strangers meet they immediately suspected danger and were extremely cautious, and their assumptions were usually warranted.

In several scenes characters come across the band of 30 outlaws, and the show does an excellent job of creating the impression of how intimidating and threatening such a group would be. I definitely noticed watching this show how as a viewer you start to size up groups of people to determine if the characters you are following are being threatened, and you can see how any large group of men is immediately suspect. Even when they are the good guys, they are menacing until proven otherwise. Likewise the presence of women in the group is reassuring.

I also notice that the presence of young children in large groups is also very reassuring, although this was not examined in the current study. This research could also be extended to include the age of the people in the groups, and also their racial makeup.

Beyond just being fascinating, research like this elucidates how our brains function. This knowledge can then be turned inward – to tweak the relationship between system 1 and system 2 thinking to maximal utility. Ideally we would extract the advantage of making rapid assessments, but know how and when to back them up with analytical thinking, and avoid succumbing to lazy thinking.

192 responses so far

192 thoughts on “In Half a Second”

  1. hardnose says:

    Maybe the “system 1 and system 2” idea actually refers to the old conscious – subconscious dichotomy, which was around in psychology long before Kahneman.

    Kahneman has created a useful mythology for certain political groups. Fast system 1 thinking, or intuition, can be blamed for ignorance and prejudice, and all kinds of political incorrectness. The solution, of course, is to improve the education system and teach people to rely more on conscious, system 2 thinking. In other words, teach “critical thinking skills.”

    But, of course, no one notices a big obvious problem with the theory. The conscious – subconscious dichotomy is such an over-simplification as to be nearly useless.

    We know, we ALL know, that subconscious intuition can be a source of extremely complex ideas and solutions. Novella believes that intuition comes from the more primitive parts of the brain. Yes, certain things do probably originate in more primitive parts of the brain. But NOT, in general, intuition!

    All software developers know about this. You are stuck on a problem and your conscious mind is going in circles. Finally it’s time to go home, so you give up for now. You drive about 2 blocks and suddenly get the answer.

    All kinds of creative projects go this way. The answer comes only when the conscious mind gives up and lets go.

    Intuition is sophisticated, it deals with complexity MUCH BETTER than slow, deliberate, linear, thought.

    But people who love Kahneman’s theory just don’t see this obvious fact. In general, people who love ANY kind of theory become blind to its defects and contradictions.

    And this two-level thinking process idea — where intuition is primitive and potentially crude, while linear thinking is cool and promises a world where everyone is intelligent and on the same page — this whole idea is so defective, and so obviously ideologically motivated.

    Not that Kahneman is consciously ideological. Blame it on the more primitive parts of his subconscious.

    (And, by the way, which political ideology do you think Kahneman associates with system 1 thinking?)

  2. BillyJoe7 says:

    ^This guy does not understand anything he reads.

    Compare his ideologically motivated version of what SN said with what SN actually said:

    “[Kahneman] admits that these are metaphors, there probably isn’t two distinct biological systems in our brains, but they help us think about the different ways in which we think. Actually, given that our brains are hierarchical, the two-system model may be based in biology to some extent. There are the primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1 – instinctive, emotional, and fast. Then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making. I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is probably more true than not.
    In any case, the two systems work together to shape our perceptions and decision-making. The idea is that we evolved rapid-response cognitive systems that makes quick and dirty judgments that are accurate enough and biased in whatever direction favours survival. We can then follow up these quick perceptions with more careful analysis when we have time”

    The troll:

    “Intuition is sophisticated, it deals with complexity MUCH BETTER than slow, deliberate, linear, thought”

    How much more moronic can you get.
    He insists on being stupid – in CAPITALS!

  3. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] But, of course, no one notices a big obvious problem with the theory. The conscious – subconscious dichotomy is such an over-simplification as to be nearly useless.

    That is not what the article said…

    “He admits that these are metaphors, there probably isn’t two distinct biological systems in our brains, but they help us think about the different ways in which we think. Actually, given that our brains are hierarchical, the two-system model may be based in biology to some extent. There are the primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1 – instinctive, emotional, and fast. Then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making. I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is probably more true than not.”

    We know, we ALL know, that subconscious intuition can be a source of extremely complex ideas and solutions. Novella believes that intuition comes from the more primitive parts of the brain. Yes, certain things do probably originate in more primitive parts of the brain. But NOT, in general, intuition!

    All software developers know about this. You are stuck on a problem and your conscious mind is going in circles. Finally it’s time to go home, so you give up for now. You drive about 2 blocks and suddenly get the answer.

    So after thinking through a problem analytically, having already primed the cognitive pump, you are attributing the solution to “intuition?” I don’t believe that’s what Kahneman is referring to when applying the term.

    Also, provide evidence that “intuition” is a source of “extremely complex ideas.” In fact, define your use of these these terms in general. As usual, I think you’re applying syntax in manner that does not reflect the source material you address.

  4. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    Another one of your straw man arguments.

    On page 22 of ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’: ‘When we think of ourselves, we identify with System 2, the conscious, reasoning self that has beliefs, makes choices, and decides what to think about and what to do. Although System 2 believes itself to be where the action is, the automatic System 1 is the hero of the book. I describe the System 1 as effortlessly originating impressions and feelings that are the sources of the explicit beliefs and deliberative choices of System 2. The automatic operations of System 1 generate surprisingly complex patterns of ideas, but only the slower System 2 can construct thoughts in an orderly series of steps.’

    Calling fast System 1 unconscious thinking the ‘hero’ of the book is hardly denigrating it. And it goes completely along with the accepted neuroscience that the brain is the mind, and the mind is the brain. There’s a conscious mind (and a conscious brain) and an unconscious mind (and unconscious brain). The conscious mind might ‘think’ it’s in charge, but it isn’t, merely coming along later to justify decisions the unconscious mind has already made. The conscious mind, to use a metaphor, is like a monkey riding on the back of an elephant, which thinks that it’s directing the elephant by pulling on its ears, but it isn’t – the elephant goes where it wants to go.

    As you can see, I read the book and was rather impressed by it. The takeaway message I took from the book was that it’s quite OK in many situations to accept System 1 decisions immediately, particularly with purchasing decisions. If a product doesn’t make my System 1 happy, I’m hardly likely to enjoy it in future years, regardless of whether I can come up with ‘rational’ reasons why I should be enjoying a product, but aren’t.

    It’s important to know when to engage in one’s ‘free won’t’, and re-examine the automatic decisions.

  5. hardnose says:

    “Calling fast System 1 unconscious thinking the ‘hero’ of the book is hardly denigrating it. And it goes completely along with the accepted neuroscience that the brain is the mind, and the mind is the brain.”

    Oh really? How is that?

    And if system 1 was not denigrated in the book, it certain is in Novella’s post.

    “There are the primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1 – instinctive, emotional, and fast.”

    How do primitive older parts of the brain solve complicated software problems, I wonder? How do they generate poetry, art and music?

  6. mumadadd says:

    “How do primitive older parts of the brain solve complicated software problems, I wonder? How do they generate poetry, art and music?”

    Jeeesus Christ….

    If we share 50% of our genes with bananas, how come bananas didn’t write Beethoven’s Fifth???

  7. mumadadd says:

    If 50% of people have below average IQ, how come the other 50% aren’t also below average too???

    That’s my thesis, and the reason I rejest science unless I think I can twist it to support my belive in unsubstantiated and ill defined magin.

    Amen.

  8. mumadadd says:

    Ahem.

    That’s my thesis, and the reason I rejest science unless I think I can twist it to support my belive in unsubstantiated and ill defined magin.

    That’s my thesis, and the reason I reject science unless I think I can twist it to support my belief in unsubstantiated and ill defined magic.

    As you were…

  9. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] How do primitive older parts of the brain solve complicated software problems, I wonder? How do they generate poetry, art and music?

    They don’t. “Instinctual, emotional, and fast” refers to snap judgements. Executing hundreds of lines of code is not a snap judgement. You are confusing what Kahneman refers to as system 1 and 2 as well as confusing expertise for instinct.

  10. chikoppi says:

    Ugh. Fixing quotes…

    [hardnose] How do primitive older parts of the brain solve complicated software problems, I wonder? How do they generate poetry, art and music?

    They don’t. “Instinctual, emotional, and fast” refers to snap judgements. Executing hundreds of lines of code is not a snap judgement. You are confusing what Kahneman refers to as system 1 and 2 as well as confusing expertise for instinct.

  11. mumadadd says:

    hn: “And if system 1 was not denigrated in the book, it certain is in Novella’s post.”

    You people keep denigrating intuition. As science has now eradicated the need for magic in explaining observable phenomena, and people used to belive in magic before science was a thing, I reject your ‘science’ and assert that intuitions are more acurate.

    You materialists are all the same, thinking that reality is made of tiny little ballbearings. And that reality isn’t made of information (undefined) because it tends towards more complexity (undefined).

  12. mumadadd says:

    hn,

    Truly, you are an instransigent bell-end. I cannot understand how you haven’t imploded in a heap of shame. You have been so consistently and utterly shown to be ignorant and yet you remain, steadfastly opposed to reason and evidence, masochistically absorbing the well-evidenced rebuttals to your nonsense, and carrying on as though it never happened.

    You are the cockroach of this blog — the only thing that will survive the nuclear winter.

  13. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘Oh really? How is that?’ I don’t know what you’re referring to.

    ‘And if System 1 is not denigrated in the book, it certain(ly) is in Novella’s post.’

    No it isn’t being denigrated. Go back and reread what Steve Novella has written.

  14. daedalus2u says:

    The problem with intuition is that it is unreliable and cannot be checked.

    The strength of the slow decision making process is that it is highly reliable, and it can be checked, rechecked and rechecked again.

    The way I characterize these two ways of thinking (for myself, the way that I do it) are as “algorithmic” (for the slow decision making process) and non-algorithmic (for intuition). I consider it “algorithmic” the way a Turing Machine is “algorithmic”; facts are put into logical arguments where the facts can be checked and then the logical operations can be checked. Do enough checking, so that your premises are known to be reliable, then your output will be reliable too; every time.

    I save intuition for times when there isn’t enough time or cognitive resources to make the decision algorithmically. I see it like the quantity estimation function that many animals have. Many animals can get the gist of whether one pile is bigger than another, and can do that very quickly. That quantity estimating skill breaks down when the numbers are very close together. Someone who is numerate can use the counting algorithm, and put the objects in a one-to-one correspondence with the natural numbers and *always* get the right answer (if due care is taken). But if there are too many to count, the estimation skill can still be used.

    Intuition can be good for a first estimate. The problem with intuition is that the steps are not explicit, they are implicit. You end up with a feeling of what is the right solution; you end up with a feeling that one pile is bigger than the other. With the counting algorithm, you always know which pile is bigger. Similarly, if you can check your intuition with an algorithm, apply facts and logic to derive what your intuition suggests is the correct answer, then you have confirmed your intuition and can be confident of the answer. Not because it matches your intuition, but because you can check and recheck the premises, data and logical structure of your argument.

    Once you have checked your intuition with facts and logic, then you can update it so that your intuition works better the next time.

  15. BillyJoe7 says:

    Ah, I see, the troll is hung up on the word “primitive”.

    He is imputing a definition to that word which he assumes is derogatory and that was clearly not intended by the author.

    The primitive part of the brain is simply the part of the brain that appeared early in evolutionary history. The neo-cortex evolved later. Both have continued to evolve since they first appeared.

    And, of course, he is clueless about how these two parts of the brain interact.
    He seems to think they are in opposition!

    And he sees the intuitive brain as he winner!

  16. BillyJoe7 says:

    mumadadd,

    “You people keep denigrating intuition. As science has now eradicated the need for magic in explaining observable phenomena, and people used to belive in magic before science was a thing, I reject your ‘science’ and assert that intuitions are more acurate”

    Yes, this is what actually pissed him off about the post: an imagined attack on his hero, intuition.

    I can see the attraction, though: you don’t have to understand, analyse, and think.You just effortlessly feel your way through.

  17. Yes, HN missed all the nuance, and all his points are obviously and demonstrably wrong, down to his misinterpretation of the word “primitive.”

    He is also using the term “intuition” in a vague manner. It is not one thing. That is why Kahneman used the term system 1, which he explicitly defined, and of which “intuition” is just a part.

    But HN needs to define what he thinks of as intuition. It seems he is referring to pattern recognition, which is subconscious, fast, and automatic. That “aha” moment is also sometimes called “abduction” – when a pattern clicks into place in our subconscious mind. That “pattern” is not just visual, but can also be a pattern that solves a logic puzzle or connects events.

    Pattern recognition is a powerful part of our brain’s function, as I have pointed out countless times. But also, it has many false positives, which is why we need to back it up with system 2 reality checking.

    I do appreciate how HN provides us with such blatant examples of how one’s narrative can twist even the interpretation of plain language to mean the opposite of what it does. Just stunning.

  18. RickK says:

    mummadadd said: “I cannot understand how you haven’t imploded in a heap of shame. ”

    Bingo. Hardnose’s inability to see the flaws and the self-deceptions so evident in his repeated misinterpretations and strawman constructions is baffling. His willingness to be demonstrably wrong, to be walked methodically through why he’s wrong, and to either steadfastly defend his wrongness or to dodge and change the subject portrays him as completely without conscience or shame.

    It’s not unlike what we see in some political figures, the complete lack of interest or pride in being factually correct. hardnose seems to have some of the characteristics of Harry Frankfurt’s “B*llsh*tter”, but on a small, introverted scale.

    And as for the “aha!” moment in computer programming, hardnose is guilty of massive selection bias. For every breakthrough “aha” moment, when your mind hits on an elegant solution, there are a dozen examples of: “I could do X!!…. Oh wait.. No, that won’t work.”

  19. Damlowet says:

    Good article Steve, that is another book I will have to add to the ‘must read’ list.

    Out of interest, when people are affected by alcohol, does the slow thinking part of the brain become more effected and impaired than the fast? Going off a Christmas party I attended last night, it seems as though the slow thinking part of the brain shuts down more rapidly than intuition, although intuition seems also to be impaired.
    Do the more primitive parts of the brain have a higher tolerance for substances?

    Damien

  20. BBBlue says:

    Spoiler alert: Frank’s gang sure didn’t size up the situation in half a second in the final shootout… and they paid for it. Hmmmm, retreat, find cover and come up with a plan or shoot it out from the middle of the street while our horses dance under us. I dunno, Frank, the second one sounds sort of risky.

  21. daedalus2u says:

    A way to think about the effects of alcohol is that what it does is decrease the fidelity of neural activity. It increases the “noise” and decreases the effectiveness of “noise compensation”.

    Depending on what you are trying to think about, that can help or hurt. If you are trying to do things that are very precise, and which require lots of details to be integrated together “exactly right”, alcohol is going to screw that up, bit time.

    If you are doing things that are already “sloppy”, and you are likely to be “over-correcting” what you are trying to do (often the case with social situations), adding a touch of “noise” can make the system work “better”. That is analogous to stochastic resonance, where adding noise to a system improves the fidelity of system operation. That only works for certain systems and for certain levels of “noise”.

  22. tb29607 says:

    daedalus2u,

    Not that this adds to your explanation but I found calculus was easier and made more sense after a couple of drinks. Never found a reason why that would be but several people with degrees in math said it was true for more advanced fields as well.

  23. daedalus2u says:

    It could also be that you just “feel” that it is easier and makes more sense. Maybe that feeling helps? If you have cognitive dissonance impeding your understanding, a little alcohol might help.

  24. mumadadd says:

    SN: “I do appreciate how HN provides us with such blatant examples of how one’s narrative can twist even the interpretation of plain language to mean the opposite of what it does. Just stunning.”

    The cyber security company I work for has dummy networks and apps set up for our penetration testers [1] to practise on. There are vulnerabilities deliberately built in so that aspiring professionals can improve their skills without breaching ethical or legal standards.

    It seems like hn is a feature of this blog in the same way those vulns are a feature of the labs my colleagues use. He’s been encoded into Neurologica for the specific purpose of generating simplistic and generalisable errors so that beginners can practise.

    1. http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/definition/penetration-testing

  25. hardnose says:

    SN:
    “There are the primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1 – instinctive, emotional, and fast. Then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making. I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is probably more true than not.”

    Here is a simplistic error generated by SN. We have no scientific reason to think that system 1, or intuition, is associated with primitive parts of the brain, or that system 2 (logic?) is associated with the neocortex.

    That is sheer ideological mythology.

    My goal here is to point out ideological biases. Of course that makes you vicious, because no one wants to see their ideology undermined.

  26. mumadadd says:

    Ping! Hurt me, I like it. Please!

  27. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    Which parts of ‘that are more system 1’ as in ‘there are primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1’ and ‘I don’t think that you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is probably more true than not’ as in ‘then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making. I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is more true than not.’

    Steven Novella comment is far more nuanced than the strawman argument you’re making, and which you’re a master of.

    You’re still making the mistake of equating ‘intuition’ with ‘System 1 thinking’ and ‘logic’ with ‘System 2 thinking’. Intuitive leaps need not, and usually aren’t, made as an instantaneous event as in System 1 thinking. Usually the person has been thinking about an intractable problem for a prolonged period, and the solution then appears apparently suddenly.

    I personally equate System 1 thinking with unconscious thinking and System 2 thinking with conscious thinking. And I don’t denigrate System 1 thinking – the unconscious mind does most of the heavy lifting of the brain, and the conscious mind is just the metaphorical monkey on the elephant’s back.

    System 2 thinking is by no means infallible. The book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ gives examples where System 1 thinking gives better results than System 2 thinking.

    The flaw in System 2 thinking is that if the premises that are the bases of the particular thought process that is being made are wrong or irrelevant, then the conclusion will also be wrong.

    You’re undoubtedly indulging in System 2 thinking in posting your comments. The trouble is that your basic premises have been selected to reflect your worldview bias (you still don’t get the difference between ‘worldview’ and ‘ideology’), and are wrong, so your conclusions are also wrong.

    Knowing that System 2 thinking can be fallible, and System 1 thinking can be more reliable, I quite often favour decisions from the latter instead of the former. Even if System 2 thinking is heavily based on emotions (perhaps, perhaps not), I still have to live with the emotions. I often find I’m much happier with snap urchases than with purchases I thoroughly researched.

  28. bachfiend says:

    Oops, typo’. I meant even if ‘System 1 (not 2) thinking is heavily based on emotion’.

    Personally, I don’t like this ‘System 1’ and ‘System 2’ jargon. It should be just fast and slow thinking.

  29. Willy says:

    “Of course that makes you vicious, because no one wants to see their ideology undermined.”

    hardnose, you are just as wrong about that assertion as you were when you assumed that your comments were being moderated and excluded because they were too “good” (ROFLMFAO). Simply put, you are delusional about what others think of your ideas. No one here is intimidated or threatened by them. In general, your ideas are scorned and your intellectual reputation exists only in your own mind. Really. REALLY!

    Your blatant accusation of being moderated and shut down was demonstrably false. That could have been a valuable lesson for you. Instead, you just ignored it and you continue to double down. It is comical that you think you are undermining anything or anybody other than your own credibility. Take some time for introspection.

  30. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] Here is a simplistic error generated by SN. We have no scientific reason to think that system 1, or intuition, is associated with primitive parts of the brain, or that system 2 (logic?) is associated with the neocortex.

    Emotion is seated in the limbic system, the paleomammalian brain. So yes, system 1 is associated with “primitive parts” of the brain.

    The great irony here is that you are a perfect example of what Kahneman describes as the core fallibility of system 1 thinking. Namely, an inability to seek out, confront, and process new information that conflicts with an internalized narrative.

    For example, did you investigate the regions of the brain responsible for system 1 cognitive behaviors prior to commenting, or did you just decide to make the assertion because it would be self-gratifying, without first engaging in any analytical discovery?

    Daniel Kahneman:

    System 1 is a storyteller. It tells the best stories that it can from the information available, even when the information is sparse or unreliable. And that makes stories that are based on very different qualities of evidence equally compelling. Our measure of how “good” a story is—how confident we are in its accuracy—is not an evaluation of the reliability of the evidence and its quality, it’s a measure of the coherence of the story.

    People are designed to tell the best story possible. So WYSIATI [what you see is all there is] means that we use the information we have as if it is the only information. We don’t spend much time saying, “Well, there is much we don’t know.” We make do with what we do know. And that concept is very central to the functioning of our mind.

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/02/conclusions.aspx

  31. bachfiend says:

    Another typo’. The first sentence in my reply to hardnose was actually a question. It should have finished with ‘don’t you understand?’ The sentence should have read ‘which parts of … don’t you understand?’

    After all this, it’s time for me to go to the gym and wake myself up.

  32. BillyJoe7 says:

    bachfiend,

    Your corrections are unnecessary for anyone following your arguments.
    …but I suppose you have to make allowances for the troll!

    And the hubris of this guy!
    He sees ideology everywhere (except in his own cranium) and is here to expose it to the light of day.

    😀

    “Steven Novella comment is far more nuanced than the strawman argument you’re making, and which you’re a master of”

    Master???
    Dear bachfiend, I think you’ve gone too far.
    He’s a blundering fool ideologically blinded to nuanced argument which leads as a matter of course to him defaulting to simplistic and superficial characterisations of those arguments.

  33. BillyJoe7 says:

    bachfiend,

    “After all this, it’s time for me to go to the gym and wake myself up”

    I’ve just come back from a 36km hill run in 24 degree C heat. It didn’t wake me up. That requires a caffeine hit afterwards…a nice mild Moccona percolated (any stronger and I get palpitations and a tremor).
    Anyway, you don’t need to be awake to deal with the blog’s buffoon.

  34. bachfiend says:

    BillyJoe,

    That reminds me… how did your ultra marathon go? I’m envious of your running ability. My running nowadays is limited to a treadmill in an air conditioned gym, and even then I periodically suffer episodic hamstring injuries even with limiting my treadmill sessions to 30 minutes at most.

    I’ll never laugh at footballers and their ‘hammies’ again.

    I’m trying to return to treadmill running after a spell of 4 weeks, starting with sessions of 10 minutes, and not every day (I’m getting sick and tired of stationary bikes and cross-trainers though).

  35. HN could use a primer on the neuroanatomical correlates of human reasoning and on neural phylogeny. All evidence suggests he has no idea what he is talking about and yet wants to chastise a neuroscientist for making a simplistic error.

    Executive function has a major contribution from the prefontal cortex: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24568942

    As does inhibitor control: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27671485

    Again – no clean separation. Networks span the brain but there are definitely regional differences in contributions to various tasks.

    In general analytical thinking comes from the phylogenetically newest parts of the brain, the neocortex. Whereas basic emotions and instincts from the the primitive limbic system.

    Subconscious biases and heuristics are more complex, which again is why I said there is no clean separation. The brain works as a whole.

    My original point is that there is evidence from neuroscience to support the system 1 and system 2 categories. They are metaphors, but there is some underlying neuroanatomical reality there. There are fast subconscious parts of the brain and slow deliberative parts of the brain.

    Finally HN seriously needs to explore the principle of charity: http://philosophy.lander.edu/oriental/charity.html

  36. BillyJoe7 says:

    bachfiend,

    Sorry to hear about your hammies. Recurrent injuries are a bummer. I’ve had a little trouble with my right Achilles’ tendon where it inserts into the bone. But it didn’t bother on the ultramarathon.

    But, unfortunately, it was my quads, which had never given me any trouble before. They gave out at about 72km on a steep downhill section and I was reduced to a slow walk to the next checkpoint – fortunately only a couple of kms away. A kind volunteer drove me back to the start line, but I had to wait a couple of hours for the last runner to pass through. By a strange coincidence, she had a daughter the same age as mine and also a kindergarten teacher!

    I was originally going to enter the 50km but they changed it to the second half of the 100km. I was keen to do the first 50km (along the beach below the cliffs, through tidal rivers, over rocks, and up and down a couple of cliffs, followed by a section across the top of the cliffs, then inland for a bit before heading back to the coast). So I entered the 100km mainly so I could run that section and then hope for the best. At least I now know how much training I need to do for next year…including lots of squats to strengthen those quads!

    In the mean time, I’m doing the Two Bays 56km in about 5 weeks time, and the Rollercoaster Run 43km (2250m ascent/descent through the Dandenongs) about 6 weeks after that. I’m fortunate to live only 5km from the foot of the Dandenongs. I’m there nearly every Sunday morning.

  37. hardnose says:

    “In general analytical thinking comes from the phylogenetically newest parts of the brain, the neocortex. Whereas basic emotions and instincts from the the primitive limbic system.”

    I am sure we all knew that. My point was not that.

    If system 1 is basic emotions and instincts, and system 2 is analytical thinking, then intuition is left out of the whole theory. But what we call intuition is probably the foundation of our rational thinking.

    Most of our cognition is subconscious. I hope you are conscious of how subconscious your thinking is.

    System 1 is fast and “easy.” It includes our animal emotions and instincts. Does it also include intuition? It seems that it must.

    But intuition is the source of creative ideas, of solutions to complex problems, etc. How is that a basic instinct or emotion?

    Is system 1 really a higher and more advanced type of thinking? Maybe slow, deliberate, conscious thought is mainly a selection process — noticing contradictions and weeding out invalid ideas. Maybe system 1 is not creative at all.

    At any rate, in spite of Novella’s claims to know all about neuroscience, no one has a good understanding of these things.

    And I have tried several times to point out — but no one here seems to have a very good analytical system 1 — Novella’s dichotomy leaves out MOST aspects of human cognition.

  38. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] If system 1 is basic emotions and instincts, and system 2 is analytical thinking, then intuition is left out of the whole theory. But what we call intuition is probably the foundation of our rational thinking.

    Or…you could try actually reading something rather than making assumptions based on your unfamiliarity with the material.

    https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/what-was-i-thinking-kahneman-explains-how-intuition-leads-us-astray

  39. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] And I have tried several times to point out — but no one here seems to have a very good analytical system 1 — Novella’s dichotomy leaves out MOST aspects of human cognition.

    You literally write without any regard for what the comment to which you are responding actually stated.

    It’s as though the act of commenting is like performing a little story for yourself. “Wouldn’t it be great if I said this thing, and then this, and they all made sense and were in context of the larger discussion?”

    The problem is that the drama going-on in your imagination is unrelated to the actual content of the conversation. Re-read Steve’s last comment. At least make an attempt to acknowledge and understand what others actually say before embarrassing yourself with oafish behavior.

  40. Sarah says:

    Since transitioning (MtF), I’ve been forced to learn to do this with groups of people. See a group or an individual, assess male/female ratio, style of clothing and hair, etc. It’s something I rarely ever had to think about before.

  41. Davi Augusto says:

    “If system 1 is basic emotions and instincts, and system 2 is analytical thinking, then intuition is left out of the whole theory. But what we call intuition is probably the foundation of our rational thinking.”

    It depends on what you consider to be the “foundation” of rational thought. In fact, as has been said before by other users, the brain functions as a whole, and “systems 1 and 2” are just metaphors used to simplify psychological processes. There is no exact and material division of systems 1 and 2 into the brain.

    Associations, first impressions and emotional reactions are considered components of “system 1”. Of course, without “System 1” you would not even be able to read my comment, for example. The process of reading is the fruit of word associations to their respective sounds and meanings, which is done quickly and automatically by our brain (and, finally, these processes are called by Kahneman from “system 1”).

    So when studying for a challenging test, you will need to read (you will be using System 1). But to understand the content, you will need to analyze information and reason. It’s not a simple comic book reading, where it takes no effort and a lot of rational analysis (unless you do it deliberately). Both systems will be used (and, in fact, we use both systems almost all the time, but in variable intesities).

    This process of analyzing information and reasoning is what Kahneman called “system 2”.

    You will use both System 1 and System 2 to discuss the subject in this blog. When reading the comments (associating words with sounds and meanings), you will be using system 1. But when you try to understand the reasoning arguments and draw up your own arguments, you will be using system 2.

  42. Drake says:

    If system 1 is basic emotions and instincts, and system 2 is analytical thinking, then intuition is left out of the whole theory. But what we call intuition is probably the foundation of our rational thinking.

    Most of our cognition is subconscious. I hope you are conscious of how subconscious your thinking is.

    System 1 is fast and “easy.” It includes our animal emotions and instincts. Does it also include intuition? It seems that it must.

    But intuition is the source of creative ideas, of solutions to complex problems, etc. How is that a basic instinct or emotion?

    HN, because you’ve never defined it, it’s a little difficult to know what you mean by ‘intuition.’ But there may be reasons to think aspects of the style of thinking you consider ‘intuition’ are more dependent on executive function (neocortex), than the limbic system.

    Now, this isn’t my field, just a subject of interest that I’ve done some reading in–if I’m on the wrong track I’m sure SN or some commenter will correct me.

    Impaired executive function is common in advanced Parkinson’s Disease. *If* your assumptions about intuition are correct (that executive function and analytical thinking inhibit intuition, and suppress the ‘creative ideas’ that you believe intuition produces), we might expect PD patients with impaired executive function to become more intuitive, more creative, and better at solving complex problems.

    In fact, the opposite happens:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jnp.12028/abstract (Executive dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease: A review. Journal of Neuropsychology, 2013. Behind a paywall, unfortunately.)

    PD patients with executive dysfunction often exhibit apathy, cognitive inflexibility, difficulty generating new ideas–even an inability to ‘get’ non-obvious humorous content.

    Interestingly, side effects of dopaminergic meds in some PD patients include impulsive disorders. And some PD patients report experiencing a strong desire to participate in ‘creative’ activities (art-making, writing, etc) when they first start dopaminergic meds, even if they never did these things when healthy.

    I haven’t read Kahneman’s book, but just made the ‘impulsive’ decision to order it, based on SN’s post and the discussion here.

  43. hardnose says:

    “*If* your assumptions about intuition are correct (that executive function and analytical thinking inhibit intuition, and suppress the ‘creative ideas’ that you believe intuition produces), we might expect PD patients with impaired executive function to become more intuitive, more creative, and better at solving complex problems.”

    That is NOT what I said at all. And furthermore, we would NOT expect a person with a degenerative brain disease to be more creative or better at solving problems. That makes no sense at all.

    I think it’s possible that conscious logic may be responsible for selecting among possibilities delivered by subconscious systems. I NEVER said it would suppress creative ideas, but it might weed out the bad ones.

  44. hardnose says:

    “Or…you could try actually reading something rather than making assumptions based on your unfamiliarity with the material.”

    I read SN’s posts. He said system 1 seems to be associated with the more primitive areas of the brain. THAT is what I find illogical.

    I also have read a lot of K & T’s research and I have a good idea where they are/were coming from.

  45. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] I also have read a lot of K & T’s research and I have a good idea where they are/were coming from.

    If that were remotely true you would not have said the following…

    “If system 1 is basic emotions and instincts, and system 2 is analytical thinking, then intuition is left out of the whole theory. But what we call intuition is probably the foundation of our rational thinking.”

    Kahneman defines and addresses intuition implicitly, obviously, and often. Had you a “good idea where he was coming from” as a result of “reading a lot of the research” you would have recognized the specific role he defines for intuition in cognition rather falsely asserting that “intuition is left out of the whole theory.”

    Here’s a real simple test for you. How does Kahneman define the role of intuition?

  46. hardnose says:

    I SAID, several times, that I was talking about SN’s analysis of system 1. You are TRYING to NOT understand what I have been saying.

  47. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] I SAID, several times, that I was talking about SN’s analysis of system 1. You are TRYING to NOT understand what I have been saying.

    Oh? Here is what you also said…

    “System 1 is fast and “easy.” It includes our animal emotions and instincts. Does it also include intuition? It seems that it must.

    But intuition is the source of creative ideas, of solutions to complex problems, etc. How is that a basic instinct or emotion?

    Is system 1 really a higher and more advanced type of thinking? Maybe slow, deliberate, conscious thought is mainly a selection process — noticing contradictions and weeding out invalid ideas. Maybe system 1 is not creative at all.”

    Steve correctly identifies the system Kahneman defines as responsible for “intuitive thinking.” Kahneman clearly defines the role of intuition in his thesis.

    Yet you ask a question, as though it hadn’t already been robustly and thouroughly addressed. Why is that, given that Steve’s presentation is consistent with Kahneman and you have “read a lot of K & T’s research” and “have a good idea where they are/were coming from?”

    How does Kahneman define the role of intuition?

  48. Drake says:

    That is NOT what I said at all. …

    I think it’s possible that conscious logic may be responsible for selecting among possibilities delivered by subconscious systems. I NEVER said it would suppress creative ideas, but it might weed out the bad ones.

    Trouble is, when you use terms such as ‘creativity,’ ‘intuition,’ and ‘complexity’ in ambiguous ways, it’s hard to tell what you are saying.

    From your first comment on this thread:

    All software developers know about this. You are stuck on a problem and your conscious mind is going in circles. Finally it’s time to go home, so you give up for now. You drive about 2 blocks and suddenly get the answer.

    All kinds of creative projects go this way. The answer comes only when the conscious mind gives up and lets go.

    ‘Gives up and lets go’ sounds a lot like the ‘conscious mind’ was suppressing ‘creativity’ that you believe has its source in ‘intuition.’

    When I rephrase that as: ‘executive function and analytical thinking inhibit intuition, and suppress the ‘creative ideas’ that you believe intuition produces’ how is that mischaracterizing your views?

    And furthermore, we would NOT expect a person with a degenerative brain disease to be more creative or better at solving problems. That makes no sense at all.

    Well, we might expect some people with some degenerative brain diseases to come up with some pretty novel notions. By some definition, that might count as ‘creative.’ Whether it would be useful or not is another question.

    My point in bringing up executive dysfunction in PD wasn’t to substitute my own half-baked theory for yours, but to suggest that simplistic and poorly defined notions of ‘creativity’ and ‘intuition’ might lead us to predict PD patients w/ executive dysfunction becoming maniacally creative, if, in fact, executive function and analytical thinkings needs to ‘give up and let go’ for creativity/intuition to be expressed.

    Instead, exactly the opposite often happens.

    What that may indicate is that reality is more complicated that your model.

  49. hardnose says:

    “What that may indicate is that reality is more complicated that your model.”

    You have been reading what I said wrong. MY MODEL? All I have been doing is trying to explain how SN’s interpretation of primitive vs more advanced types of thinking does not make sense.

    I don’t have a model. I know that I don’t know how all this works. Kahneman, and Novella, think they know a lot about it.

    I said that model is over-simplified and doesn’t make sense. Novella includes primitive emotions and instincts, on the one hand, and advanced conscious thought on the other. But A WHOLE LOT of what goes on in cognition is NEITHER.

    The regulars here can’t grasp what I’m saying at all. They get triggered if you disagree with Novella and they have to get an emergency therapy session.

  50. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘The regulars here can’t grasp what I’m saying at all. They get triggered if you disagree with Novella and they have to get an emergency therapy session.’

    We do grasp what you’re saying. That you know absolutely nothing, and as a result you think that nothing is known. You’re unwilling to inform yourself.

    You’re the perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Which part of ‘there probably aren’t two distinct biological systems in our brains’ (fast and slow thinking) don’t you understand? Steve Novella’s thread is richly nuanced. As is your want, you construct a strawman argument because you’re incapable of addressing arguments in conflict with your worldview.

  51. Drake says:

    I don’t have a model. I know that I don’t know how all this works. Kahneman, and Novella, think they know a lot about it.

    Of course you have a model. It includes the following (all quotes from your comments upthread):

    >’…subconscious intuition can be a source of extremely complex ideas and solutions.’
    >’The answer comes only when the conscious mind gives up and lets go.’
    >’Intuition is sophisticated, it deals with complexity MUCH BETTER than slow, deliberate, linear, thought.’
    >’…what we call intuition is probably the foundation of our rational thinking.’
    >’…intuition is the source of creative ideas, of solutions to complex problems, etc.’
    >’Maybe slow, deliberate, conscious thought is mainly a selection process — noticing contradictions and weeding out invalid ideas.’
    >’…conscious logic may be responsible for selecting among possibilities delivered by subconscious systems.’

    Etcetera. Being rather poorly defined, your model may not do much to generate testable hypotheses, but it’s a model nonetheless.

    In this thread, you never mention what you think the source of intuition is. Having read many of your other comments, I think I can guess.

  52. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] I said that model is over-simplified and doesn’t make sense. Novella includes primitive emotions and instincts, on the one hand, and advanced conscious thought on the other. But A WHOLE LOT of what goes on in cognition is NEITHER.

    The regulars here can’t grasp what I’m saying at all. They get triggered if you disagree with Novella and they have to get an emergency therapy session.

    Horsepucky.

    The role of intuition is clearly defined and demonstrated in Kahneman’s work. You are denying that obvious and overt fact and claiming that it is omitted when it is central to his thesis. You are also claiming that the premise is presented as simplified dichotomy when it is expressly stated that is not the case.

    In other words, what you are “saying” are factually incorrect non-sequiturs. You aren’t “disagreeing” with anything other than a strawman born of your own misconceptions.

    I agree. Your strawman doesn’t make sense.

    Now maybe you’ll address the actual content of Kahneman’s thesis, which you claim to understand. How does Kahneman define the role of intuition?

  53. mumadadd says:

    SN’s posts tend to reflect the expert consensus, and it is that that you are disagreeing with rather than Steven Novella or any commenter who happens to accept the expert consensus. This is perfectly in line with your labelling of evolutionary theory as ‘our’ theory, as though it is something invented by an anonymous commenter on Neurologica, when it is in fact the well-evidenced and massively predictive consensus theory of experts in the relevant fields. It would be far more appropriate to call your own professed beliefs ‘your’ theory, as you rarely provide citations and when you do you tend to grossly misrepresent what they actually say.

    And it isn’t the fact that you disagree that annoys other commenters, but the character of your objections: incoherently reasoned, unevidenced, and typically relying on gross misrepresentation of whatever position you are arguing against. If someone were to raise well reasoned and well evidenced objections to something SN said, no doubt they would get a much different reception to your drivel.

    Case in point, in this very thread you are characterising System 1 and 2 thinking as ‘primitive’ vs ‘advanced’ thinking. The word ‘advanced’ is not used in SN’s post, and ‘primitive’ is used in relation to the brain structures underlying system 1 thinking, in reference to when they evolved. And somehow you have twisted this into SN stating that intuitive thinking is primitive and attached a value judgement to the description, then taken personal offence at this fabricated sleight.

  54. mumadadd says:

    Sorry, the above was in response to hn saying this:

    “The regulars here can’t grasp what I’m saying at all. They get triggered if you disagree with Novella and they have to get an emergency therapy session.”

  55. BillyJoe7 says:

    The troll’s argument is like the zig zag lines in this optical illusion…non-existent!
    (Okay, this is really just an excuse to show a really good newly discovered optical illusion)

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2017/12/08/curvature-blindness-illusion/#.Wi5nJetXerX

  56. hardnose says:

    “SN’s posts tend to reflect the expert consensus, and it is that that you are disagreeing with rather than Steven Novella or any commenter who happens to accept the expert consensus.”

    Reflecting the expert consensus is definitely system 1.

  57. hardnose says:

    https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/11/09/contra-kahneman-your-minds-fast-and-intuitive-system-one-is-capable-of-logic/

    This research seems to show that system 1 (intuition) is also capable of logic.

    That was sort of what I was trying to explain to you, but you never listen to anyone who disagrees with Novella. You’re kind of like his little sheep.

  58. hardnose says:

    Here is an article that says some of the things I have always said about Kahneman and Tversky’s research:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/books/review/thinking-fast-and-slow-by-daniel-kahneman-book-review.html

    “Our everyday reasoning abilities have evolved to cope efficiently with a complex and dynamic environment. They are thus likely to be adaptive in this environment, even if they can be tripped up in the psychologist’s somewhat artificial experiments.”

  59. Drake says:

    This research seems to show that system 1 (intuition) is also capable of logic.

    That was sort of what I was trying to explain to you, but you never listen to anyone who disagrees with Novella. You’re kind of like his little sheep.

    Be honest, hardnose: had you read the article you linked before you started commenting on SN’s post? Or did you go searching for something you could spin as support for your preconceived notions concerning ‘creativity,’ ‘intuition,’ and ‘complexity’?

    Moreover, if you re-read your direct quotes I posted above, it should be your weren’t trying to explain system 1 is ‘also capable of logic.’ Your claims went far beyond that.

    In any event, the research referred to in the BPS piece looks interesting. I’ve downloaded the journal article and look forward to reading it.

    I suspect it won’t support your views nearly to the extent you imagine (if at all), but we shall see.

  60. Drake says:

    Oops. Sentence should read: “Moreover, if you re-read your direct quotes I posted above, it should be clear you weren’t trying to explain system 1 is ‘also capable of logic.’”

  61. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] That was sort of what I was trying to explain to you, but you never listen to anyone who disagrees with Novella. You’re kind of like his little sheep.

    Yeah…”sort of,” except not.

    [hardnose] Intuition is sophisticated, it deals with complexity MUCH BETTER than slow, deliberate, linear, thought.

    But people who love Kahneman’s theory just don’t see this obvious fact. In general, people who love ANY kind of theory become blind to its defects and contradictions.

    The premise that system 1 thinking is 1) more prone to heuristic bias, 2) less capable of analytical (rule-based) reasoning than system 2.

    Is that consistent with the research?

    Across the experiments, about half of the time, participants provided the wrong initial answer and they stuck to that wrong answer, even when given more time to deliberate. This was as expected – most of us are not great at logic and we’re often too mentally lazy to engage System Two successfully. There were also some instances of participants’ fast System One thinking getting the answer wrong, and then being corrected by their System Two thinking. This scenario is consistent with Kahneman’s model but it was rare – occurring only ten per cent of the time. Far more common – around 30 per cent of the time – was the scenario where the participants actually answered logically straight way, after relying purely on their System One.

    Bago and De Neys aren’t claiming that System One conducts logical thinking in the same way as System Two (it’s likely it does not), but their results do provide compelling evidence that System One is capable of logical intuitive thought, which seems to run counter to standard dual processing theory (in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman states System One has “little understanding of logic and statistics”). Additionally, the model of thought described by Kahneman, in which it is common for System Two to take over from System One “when things get difficult”, seems to happen only rarely.

    Bago and De Neys aren’t claiming that System One conducts logical thinking in the same way as System Two (it’s likely it does not), but their results do provide compelling evidence that System One is capable of logical intuitive thought, which seems to run counter to standard dual processing theory (in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman states System One has “little understanding of logic and statistics”). Additionally, the model of thought described by Kahneman, in which it is common for System Two to take over from System One “when things get difficult”, seems to happen only rarely.

    There are other interpretations of these findings – for example, some may question whether the researchers were successful in disabling System Two from contributing to participants’ initial answers. Another potential criticism might be that correct answers from System One were produced by chance, not through intuitive logic. But in fact, the distinct difference in participants’ intuitive answering styles to questions that were designed to provoke conflict between bias and logic and those questions that were not, showed that they were not simply guessing.

    Bago and De Neys propose a new “hybrid model” to explain their findings, in which the automatic and intuitive System One is capable of both logical and heuristic thinking (with the two forms of intuition competing for dominance), and with later, logical System Two thinking being slower and optional. If one of System One’s intuitions is much more dominant than the other, it is more likely that it will be selected, and less likely that it will be changed later. In contrast, when the two intuitions – logical/heuristic – are more similar in dominance, then confidence will be lower and it is more likely that System Two will make a change. To some extent this account was borne out participants’ ratings of their confidence in the current experiments – if they expressed less confidence in their initial answer, they were more likely to spend more time reflecting on it later, and more likely to change it.

    “To conclude,” the researchers write, “the present studies indicate that fast and automatic Type 1 processing can cue a correct logical response from the start of the reasoning process. This pattern of results lends credence to a model in which the relative strength of different types of intuitions determines reasoning performance.”

    I don’t have access to the data, but from the above description:

    about 50% System 1 wrong, system 2 not engaged
    about 10% System 1 wrong, subsequently corrected by system 2
    about 30% System 1 correct

    So system 1 produced the wrong answer 60-70% of the time.

    This isn’t inconsistent with Kahneman and it certainly doesn’t imply that system 1 is better capable of analytical, statistical, or complex reasoning “MUCH BETTER” than system 2.

    It does demonstrate that the degree of participant confidence in the results of system 1 has an impact on the willingness to expend additional energy to engage system 2.

    This calls to mind one of my favorite Bertrand Russel quotes:

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

  62. hardnose says:

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

    I agree chikoppi, you do seem very cocksure most of the time.

  63. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] I agree chikoppi, you do seem very cocksure most of the time.

    Ah look, your irrational enslavement to “intuition” produced another erroneous conclusion.

    🙂

  64. Drake says:

    Here is an article that says some of the things I have always said about Kahneman and Tversky’s research:

    Umm. Except the NYT review you link to (it’s a book review, not a news article), is overwhelmingly enthusiastic about Kahneman’s book, and supportive of his career and research.

    Most of the criticism is directed at writers who leap to sweeping conclusions based (-ish) on Kahneman’s book, the NYT columnist David Brooks in particular.

    Ironically, the sentence you quote (somewhat out of context) explicitly assumes Darwinian adaption to make the point–a concept you have railed against many, many times in the comments on this blog.

    It’s one thing to disagree with a writer, even if your reasons for doing so are spurious. But to blatantly mischaracterize their writing, in an attempt to make them appear to agree with you, is stupid, dishonest, or both.

  65. BillyJoe7 says:

    Drake,

    He has amply demonstrated that he is a ignorant fool and that, when desperate, he resorts to blatant lies, so I think “both” is correct. I have developed zero respect for this guy over the years.

  66. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘This research seems to show that system 1 (intuition) is also capable of logic.’

    You persist in making straw man arguments. As I’ve noted Kahneman and Tversky don’t denigrate System 1 thinking. They provide examples where System 1 thinking provides better results than System 2. And Steven Novella isn’t denigrating System 1 thinking either. Go back and reread his post.

    Both Systems use premises to arrive at conclusions; System 1 unconscious premises and System 2 conscious premises, so both are using logic to arise at conclusions. System 1 conclusions don’t just pop out of nothing. If the conscious premises that System 2 thinking is using are wrong or irrelevant, then its conclusions are going to be wrong. If the unconscious premises System 1 thinking is using are ‘correct’ or at least relevant, then its conclusions are going to be ‘right’.

    Wisdom comes from knowing when to use System 1 thinking and when to use System 2 thinking. Ideally the premises that System 1 thinking uses to arrive at conclusions (acquired after years of experience) will be right, so its conclusions will be always right too, reached immediately and automatically without conscious thought, in the same way that expertise in other skills (such as playing the violin or chess) is best when it’s done automatically and unconsciously.

  67. hardnose says:

    No, you should re-read it.

    “There are the primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1 – instinctive, emotional, and fast. Then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making. I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is probably more true than not.”

    He thinks system 1 is more primitive. That is not what Kahneman says, but this quote from the post obviously does.

    That is the main thing I was criticizing about this post, and you know it, and you know it is not a straw man.

  68. MosBen says:

    HN. Please tell us what you think the definition of “primitive” is as used in SN’s post. I have a strong suspicion that you are not defining it in the same way that he is.

  69. Drake says:

    He thinks system 1 is more primitive. That is not what Kahneman says, but this quote from the post obviously does.

    That is the main thing I was criticizing about this post, and you know it, and you know it is not a straw man.

    If a reasonable person isn’t sure what a writer means by a word (esp. a word such as ‘primitive’ which *can* have derogatory connotations), seems like they could ask. Particularly when the writer regularly responds to questions posted in the comments.

    As it happens, BJ7 offered a perfectly reasonable definition of primitive brain structures more than 50 posts upthread, and SN made it clear than you had the wrong end of the stick, interpreting the word in the way you did.

    Regardless, you’ve used the term yourself (and, as applied to human individuals, in a way far less accurate, and far more likely to be interpreted as a negative):

    Primitive humans are just as intelligent as we are, even though most can barely count. And their excess intelligence and creativity is used in all kinds of ways completely unrelated to survival and reproduction.

    From your comment #106, 7 November 2017, on ‘Conspiracy Thinking and Epistemology.’

  70. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    What is it that you don’t understand in ‘I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic that is is probably more true than not’, which you’ve included in your quote?

    Steven Novella is carefully nuanced, which you’re incapable of seeing. If I had to guess, I think you’re an archetypal conservative, very low on open-mindedness with a tendency to see things in black and white instead of shades of grey as in reality.

    ‘He thinks System 1 is more primitive. That is not what Kahneman says, but this quote from the post obviously does.’

    No it doesn’t. He’s saying that there are parts of the human brain that are more primitive (being shared by all primates) and there are parts of the human brain that are less primitive (such as the greatly expanded frontal cortex), and that System 1 thinking is done preferentially in the more primitive parts and System 2 thinking preferentially in the less primitive parts (which is the meaning of ‘I don’t think you can make a clean separation’ and ‘probably more true than false’).

    He’s definitely not saying that System 1 thinking is more primitive. Nor is Kahneman.

  71. bachfiend says:

    Drake,

    That was a very good catch from hardnose’s previous comments: ‘Primitive humans are just as intelligent as we are, even though most can barely count. And their excess intelligence and creativity is used in all kinds of ways completely unrelated to survival and reproduction,’

    I’d challenged him at the time, noting that hunter-gatherers are just as intelligent as they need to be, and that there’s no excess intelligence. And I used the example of the Burke and Wills expedition in 1860-61 which aimed to cross Australia South to North and back. They used their intelligence to observe the eclipse of Io in order to synchronise their chronometers and hence calculate longitude in order to navigate. The Australian Aborigines used their intelligence in order to successfully navigate one of the world’s harshest environments, find food and water and survive.

    And Burke and Wills died in the midst of plenty on Cooper’s Creek. One member, John King, survived because he was taken in by the local Aboriginal tribe.

  72. hardnose says:

    “He’s saying that there are parts of the human brain that are more primitive … and there are parts of the human brain that are less primitive …, and that System 1 thinking is done preferentially in the more primitive parts and System 2 thinking preferentially in the less primitive parts ….”

    “He’s definitely not saying that System 1 thinking is more primitive. Nor is Kahneman.”

    First, you say that “System 1 thinking is done preferentially in the more primitive parts,” and then you say “He’s definitely not saying that System 1 thinking is more primitive.’

    This conversation has obviously gone off the rails into the realm of insanity, even beyond.

    All so you can avoid seeing that Novella said something obviously false.

    I am not interested in debating lunatics, so unless you have something sane to say I am not answering. Enjoy yourselves by hurling insults and throwing tantrums as always.

  73. bachfiend says:

    ‘I am not interested in debating lunatics, so unless you have something sane to say I am not answering. Enjoy yourselves by hurling insults and throwing tantrums as always.?

    It’s amazing that hardnose ascribes his faults to his critics. In this he’s like Michael Egnor.

    Hopefully this means he will be ceasing posting his inane comments on this blog.

  74. Drake says:

    First, you say that “System 1 thinking is done preferentially in the more primitive parts,” and then you say “He’s definitely not saying that System 1 thinking is more primitive.’

    This conversation has obviously gone off the rails into the realm of insanity, even beyond.

    I’m sure bachfiend can speak for himself, but here’s how I understand his meaning:

    The adjective ‘primitive’ in those two sentences modifies two different things: the noun ‘parts’ and the verb ‘thinking.’

    One can think perfectly modern thoughts using structures that first appeared in ancestral organisms, and have (perhaps) been changed less by evolution than other structures. Indeed, we have no choice–all living humans are modern (albeit in different ways), therefore so are our thoughts, by definition.

    I can, analogously, carve a perfectly modern sculpture using ‘primitive’ tools that emerged thousands of years ago and have changed little since.

    No contradiction, no ‘insanity.’

  75. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] First, you say that “System 1 thinking is done preferentially in the more primitive parts,” and then you say “He’s definitely not saying that System 1 thinking is more primitive.’

    “Primitive” as in an early evolutionary feature common to the mammalian brain, as opposed to the pronounced human neocortex, which is the most recent evolutionary development.

    Not “primitive” as in rudimentary.

    The neocortex, also called the neopallium and isocortex, is the part of the mammalian brain involved in higher-order brain functions such as sensory perception, cognition, generation of motor commands,[1] spatial reasoning and language.[2]

    The neocortex ratio of a species is the ratio of the size of the neocortex to the rest of the brain. A high neocortex ratio is thought to correlate with a number of social variables such as group size and the complexity of social mating behaviors.[23] (See Dunbar’s number) Humans have a large neocortex as a percentage of total brain matter when compared with other mammals. For example, there is only a 30:1 ratio of neocortical gray matter to the size of the medulla in the brainstem of chimpanzees, while the ratio is 60:1 in humans.[24]

  76. Drake says:

    Oops. ‘Thinking’ in bachfiend’s phrase is also a noun. But the point stands–there’s nothing contradictory or insane about modern thinking occurring in so-called primitive structures.

  77. bachfiend says:

    I equate System 1 thinking with unconscious thinking and System 2 thinking with conscious thinking. It’s an extension of the accepted neuroscience that the brain is the mind, and the mind is the brain. The mind isn’t something that the brain ‘does’. The brain is the mind.

    There’s a conscious mind and a conscious brain. And an unconscious mind and an unconscious brain.

    The conscious mind gets very much overrated. To use the common metaphor, the conscious mind ‘thinks’ it’s in control, but actually it’s the monkey on the elephant’s back which thinks it’s directing the elephant by pulling on the elephant’s ears, whereas the elephant’s going where it wants to go.

    Expertise, whether in motor skills such as playing the violin, or mental skills, such as thinking, involve pushing as much as possible onto the unconscious brain so that both become automatic. And both require practice, practice, practice, whether the motor and sensory skills in playing the violin or ingraining true premises into the unconscious brain so that correct decisions can be made automatically.

    System 1 thinking often gives the right answer, and System 2 thinking the wrong answer. Wisdom is knowing when to abandon System 1 thinking and rely on System 2 thinking, usually in novel unfamiliar situations.

  78. Drake says:

    It’s an extension of the accepted neuroscience that the brain is the mind, and the mind is the brain. The mind isn’t something that the brain ‘does’. The brain is the mind.

    I think we’re in agreement, bachfiend.

    My analogies were perhaps a bit clunky–it seems to me our ordinary language is constructed such that it’s very difficult to avoid constructions that *don’t* imply an ‘I’ separate from a brain, using ‘its’ brain to think thoughts.

    If you’re able to get access to the journal article I linked upthread, there’s discussion of what happens in some PD brains, when automatic functions (e.g. walking) become impaired, requiring (conscious) executive functions to take over as a work-around.

    You might find it interesting.

  79. hardnose says:

    “Hopefully this means he will be ceasing posting his inane comments on this blog.”

    I won’t answer when this blog becomes an insane asylum. Which is pretty often.

    But when you’re just a bunch of devout atheists caught up in an irrational ideology, then I try to bring some reason. Some of it might sink into your system 1, and you won’t even know it.

  80. hardnose says:

    Novella is not an expert in psychology, and he misinterpreted some of Kahneman’s unscientific ideas.

    Novella thinks System 1 is relatively primitive. That would strengthen his belief that System 1 thinking can account for irrational ideas such as racism, nationalism, or religion. It would explain, for progressives like him, why we have a US president who represents the moronic majority. It would confirm his opinion that we need more indoctrination into “critical thinking” (atheism) in the public schools.

  81. mumadadd says:

    hn’s ‘rebuttal’ reminds me of this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

    He doesn’t seem to know that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

  82. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] But when you’re just a bunch of devout atheists caught up in an irrational ideology, then I try to bring some reason. Some of it might sink into your system 1, and you won’t even know it.

    Novella is not an expert in psychology, and he misinterpreted some of Kahneman’s unscientific ideas.

    Novella thinks System 1 is relatively primitive. That would strengthen his belief that System 1 thinking can account for irrational ideas such as racism, nationalism, or religion. It would explain, for progressives like him, why we have a US president who represents the moronic majority. It would confirm his opinion that we need more indoctrination into “critical thinking” (atheism) in the public schools.

    The word “primitive” appears ONCE in the article: “Actually, given that our brains are hierarchical, the two-system model may be based in biology to some extent. There are the primitive older parts of our brain that are more system 1 – instinctive, emotional, and fast. Then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making.”

    This is an accurate description of the asymmetry of contribution by regions of the brain to the core characteristics of each system. Notice the adjective “primitive” refers to “parts of our brain.” Nowhere does Steve say “System 1 is relatively primitive.” You are wrong.

    Daniel Kahneman:

    Well, the main point that I make is that confidence is a feeling, it is not a judgment. And that feeling comes automatically; it itself is a product of System 1. My own intuition and my System 1 have really not been educated to be very different. Education influences System 2, and enables System 2 to pick up cues that “this is a situation where I’m likely to make those mistakes.” So on rare occasions, I catch myself in the act of making a mistake, but normally I just go on and make it.

    When the stakes are very high, I might stop myself. For example, when someone asks me for an opinion and I’m in a professional role, and I know that they are going to act on my opinion or take it very seriously, then I slow down. But I make very rash judgments all the time. I will make a long-term political prediction, then a little voice will remind me, “but you’ve written that long-term political predictions are nonsensical.” But you know, I’ll just go on making it, because it seems true and real at the time I’m making it. And that’s the WYSIATI part of it. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be true.”

    Yeah…critical thinking and analytical research is how we avoid the automatic mistakes that system 1 is prone to commit – mistakes we would remain forever ignorant of if not for system 2.

    Stop throwing a tantrum.

    The only one invoking “ideology” is you, which is your self-degrading go-to every time you get backed into a corner. “Devout atheists?” “Progressives?” When you can’t reason with the facts you cry that everyone is being unfair or ideologically motivated merely because they won’t let you vomit your made-up stories and constant parade of deceitful strawmen all over the place.

  83. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘Novella is not an expert in psychology, and he misinterpreted some of Kahneman’s unscientific ideas.’

    Nor are you an expert in psychology, despite your claiming having a PhD in experimental psychology.

    You’ve stated that you did your PhD in order to get into parapsychology, and were then informed that it doesn’t pay. So it seems that whatever expertise you ever had has disappeared over time.

    Expertise has to be maintained by continuing to work and study in the field. I don’t claim any expertise in diagnostic anatomical pathology having retired 7 years ago, but I do claim a more than average understanding of medical science (which isn’t difficult considering the general public ignorance).

    Which ‘unscientific ideas’ of Kahneman did Steven Novella get wrong?

    Chikoppi,

    Agreed, agreed, agreed.

    System 1 thinking isn’t primitive. It’s sophisticated. Some of my best decisions I ever made were from System 1 thinking (and some of my worst, alas, were from System 2). Both rely on premises, unconscious in System 1, conscious in System 2. If the premises are incorrect or irrelevant, then the conclusions will be wrong.

  84. BillyJoe7 says:

    From moronic to oxymoronic:

    “a bunch of devout atheists caught up in an irrational ideology”
    “indoctrination into “critical thinking” (atheism)”

    And it’s hard to believe he is not a creationist by stealth:

    “I try to bring some reason. Some of it might sink into your system 1, and you won’t even know it”

    Many of us have already been there…around about the time we entered kindergarten.

  85. chikoppi says:

    [BillyJoe7] System 1 thinking isn’t primitive. It’s sophisticated. Some of my best decisions I ever made were from System 1 thinking (and some of my worst, alas, were from System 2). Both rely on premises, unconscious in System 1, conscious in System 2. If the premises are incorrect or irrelevant, then the conclusions will be wrong.

    I think there are several important differences.

    S1 is efficient to a fault. As Kahneman states, S1 is a “feeling” not a “judgement.” S1 creates the best “story” based on extant information and baked-in heuristics. If the story feels satisfying then S1 confers a sense of confidence that may or may not be justified (and which cannot be verified). S1 is good, but not perfect, and better adapted to some challenges than to others.

    S2 is slow and energy-demanding. However, S2 is can impose rules and external feedback that the subject is consciously aware of, which is the only way to detect and escape the erroneous “feels good” errors to which S1 is prone (of which there is ample and consistent experimental evidence).

    Both systems could lead to a wrong conclusion, but S2 is the only one subject to objective examination and correction.

    Sounds a lot like the scientific method. Subjectively assume an S1 hypothesis, but attempt to falsify it with objective S2 methodology before adopting conditional belief.

  86. bachfiend says:

    Chikoppi,

    Agreed.

    I think wisdom is knowing when to abandon S1 and adopt S2 for the important decisions. But there are a lot of unimportant questions that it’s not worth getting worried about, and the quick and easy answers of S1 are perfectly adequate.

  87. hardnose says:

    bachfiend:

    “System 1 thinking isn’t primitive. It’s sophisticated. Some of my best decisions I ever made were from System 1 thinking (and some of my worst, alas, were from System 2). Both rely on premises, unconscious in System 1, conscious in System 2.”

    I agree with that, and my point was that System 1 is not associated with more primitive areas of the brain. Novella made that part up. Where is the evidence for that idea?

    If Novella’s statement was “nuanced,” that doesn’t make it any less wrong. He did not say it is absolutely certain that System 1 involves more primitive areas. But he said it probably does.

    So that was one obviously correct point I was making.

    In general, I am definitely not a fan of most of Kahneman and Tversky’s research. I don’t care how famous they are, I really don’t. I found many questionable things in their experiments. And of course you will say “Well, who are YOU to find questionable things in famous psychologists’ experiments?”

    As a member of the human species, I feel it is my right to think and to have opinions. I do not feel I have to be submissive and obedient, and believe whatever academics say.

    This probably comes from being brought up in the USA and being told all my life we are free to believe whatever we think makes sense.

    When people here get all bent out of shape, it’s because human nature doesn’t really like too much freedom.

  88. hardnose says:

    “I think wisdom is knowing when to abandon S1 and adopt S2 for the important decisions.”

    It’s also knowing when to let go of $2 and allow $1 to do its ingenious and creative work.

    One problem we are having here is that System 2 is defined as conscious reasoning, while every other kind of cognitive processing is jammed into System 1.

    Obviously, the dichotomy is grossly over-simplified. Psychologists have been coming up with these things at least since Freud.

  89. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘One problem we are having here is that System 2 is defined as conscious reasoning, while every other kind of cognitive processing is jammed into System 1.’

    Well, if System 2 is conscious, then System 1 must be unconscious, and must include everything else. There are no alternatives (unless you can propose them).

    ‘my point was that System 1 is not associated with more primitive areas of the brain. Novella made that part up. Where is the evidence for that idea?’

    So the more primitive areas of the brain all mammals have aren’t associated with System 1 thinking? Non-human mammals don’t have System 1? Where is your evidence for that idea?

    Steven Novella wrote ‘there are primitive older parts of our brain that are MORE system 1, instinctive, emotional, and fast. Then there is the neocortex – which gives us executive function, and slow deliberative decision-making. I don’t think you can make a clean separation, but it is a useful schematic, that is probably more true than not.’

    He’s definitely not saying that System 1 occurs only in ‘the primitive older parts of our brain’ and System 2 occurs only in the greatly expanded neocortex of humans – that’s what the ‘I don’t think you can make a clean separation’ means.

    If I have any quibble with Steven Novell’s comment it would be with the ‘instinctive, emotional, and fast’. I would have phrased it as ‘instinctive or emotional, and fast’, with ‘instinctive’ also having the meaning of ‘automatic.’ System 1 thinking need not be emotional and may be perfectly rational on consideration (although the conscious mind is a master of coming up with plausible justifications for unconscious decisions – it’s not possible to examine the bases of the unconscious decision, but it’s certainly possible examine the conscious justifications to be more confident that the unconscious decision is really justified).

  90. Willy says:

    I wish I thought as highly of myself as hardnose thinks of himself. Imagine just how cocksure one must be in order to believe that Dr. Novella was instituting a screening system to keep out one’s “good” arguments!

  91. Damlowet says:

    @ Hardnose

    As a religious person, do you accept that animals other than humans have consciousness? If so, do they also have souls?, if not, what is the difference between humans and other animals which have only the ‘primitve’ brains which you seem to suggest consciousness also resides in? Are they only ‘half conscious’?

    I did a little bit of digging and found this Atlantic article which implies the evolutionary steps toward consciousness. Can anyone comment if it seems accurate?
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/how-consciousness-evolved/485558/

    Also, I think I have found something a select few may have been reading. Pay close attentions to the language which is used to describe non believers! Sounds familiar.
    https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/is-there-a-god/proof-of-god/consciousness-and-free-will/

    Cheers guys.

  92. Willy says:

    My “system 1” reaction was euphoria when it was announced last night that Roy Moore lost. Then, my “system 2” thinking took over and I had to wonder if the Trump supporters are tired of winning yet.

  93. chikoppi says:

    @Damlowet

    Interesting article (The Atlantic). I didn’t spot anything inconsistent with evolutionary history, to the extent of my understanding.

    You may find this equally intriguing, as it touches on some of the same neurological themes:

    https://hbr.org/2006/01/decisions-and-desire

  94. hardnose says:

    “As a religious person, do you accept that animals other than humans have consciousness? If so, do they also have souls?, if not, what is the difference between humans and other animals which have only the ‘primitve’ brains which you seem to suggest consciousness also resides in? Are they only ‘half conscious’?”

    I think all the religious dogma of our culture is symbolic and mythological, as it has been with every culture.

    I am not an atheist, but that doesn’t mean I have to believe the specifics of any dogmatic religious mythologies.

    That would be almost as bad as believing the dogmatic atheist mythologies.

  95. hardnose says:

    “So the more primitive areas of the brain all mammals have aren’t associated with System 1 thinking? Non-human mammals don’t have System 1? Where is your evidence for that idea?”

    You need to practice with Venn diagrams.

  96. BillyJoe7 says:

    More oxymoronic nonsense from a primitive brain:

    “dogmatic atheist mythologies”

  97. Willy says:

    Tell us, hardnose; what are some dogmatic atheist mythologies?

    As someone once said, atheism is a religion (aka mythology) just like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  98. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] That would be almost as bad as believing the dogmatic atheist mythologies.

    That’s because you hate freedom.

    This probably comes from being brought up in the USA and being told all my life we are free to believe whatever we think makes sense.

    When people here get all bent out of shape, it’s because human nature doesn’t really like too much freedom.

  99. hardnose says:

    I think we can all agree that people can be irrational. We see it all the time at this blog, for example. But the question Kahneman tries to answer is WHY. What causes people to be irrational and to make bad decisions?

    In Kahneman’s theory, the cause is System 1 thinking. We all depend on System 1 for most of our every day decisions. However, we rely on it too much, because it’s fast and easy. If we made more use of System 2, which requires more time and effort, we would be more rational.

    If Kahneman is right, then human irrationality can be fixed, to some extent. People could be trained to use System 1 more often. In other words, teaching critical thinking skills could make the world a happier place. Bigotry, violence, religion, all would decrease as people became more thoughtful and conscious.

    I don’t agree with Kahneman’s theory. What nerve! I don’t have a Nobel prize, so how could I dare to disagree with him?

    Here is why I don’t agree. Most of you will read this entirely in System 1 mode, as usual, so you won’t get it. But maybe some will.

    Yes there is fast instinctive processing, in more primitive areas of the brain. Yes there is conscious analytical thought associated wqith the more recently evolved areas. But that is NOT why people are often irrational.

    People are irrational because it is not possible to find out everything for ourselves, so we have to trust experts and authorities on most things. Starting in early childhood, we hear things spoken with authority and we believe them, and we repeat them. And this continues.

    Sometimes what we hear from authorities conflicts with other things we heard, and then we have to decide which is most likely correct.

    Our society is large and complex, and we now have multiple centers of authority. It isn’t just the church, or just the bible, or just academia. It’s all of those, plus others.

    It is our natural trust of authority that makes us irrational. Many of the things we learn from authorities are not really understood. But they are spoken with authority anyway, and can seem very convincing, so we are likely to believe them.

    Kahneman lived through the horrific Nazi era, and maybe that influenced his research — trying to understand how people could be so horribly irrational and cruel.

    But should we blame System 1 for Nazism? Or was it really the experts and authorities? At that time, eugenics was an accepted scientific theory, and was popular all over Europe and in the USA. The experts were saying that some ethnic groups are inferior, and most people believed it. Why would they doubt the scientific experts?

    Now we know that eugenics was not a valid theory. We do not consider some races or ethnic groups to be more highly evolved than others.

    However, people will always find ways to feel they are more highly evolved than others. Now we have System 2, and “critical thinking skills.” If you are skilled at conscious analysis, you are less likely to be irrational and cruel, more likely to be compassionate and reasonable. You are more highly evolved.

    The NESS and this blog is a perfect example of the more highly evolved members of society striving to lead the less educated, to create a happier and more peaceful world.

    The NESS is a missionary organization.

  100. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] People are irrational because it is not possible to find out everything for ourselves, so we have to trust experts and authorities on most things. Starting in early childhood, we hear things spoken with authority and we believe them, and we repeat them. And this continues.

    First, YOU are the only one obsessed with authority. No one here values “authority.” What we value is expertise.

    Even experts are required to show their work. What matters, all that matters, is HOW a conclusion was reached. It is the quality of evidence and methodological/epistemological rigor that is judged. And yes, the judgement of other experts is of greater value than that of amateurs, because those experts are in possession of far more detailed knowledge on which to base an assessment.

    However, people will always find ways to feel they are more highly evolved than others. Now we have System 2, and “critical thinking skills.” If you are skilled at conscious analysis, you are less likely to be irrational and cruel, more likely to be compassionate and reasonable. You are more highly evolved.

    In the research that you cited 60-70% of people got the answer wrong using ONLY system 1. The roughly 10% of people who subsequently applied system 2 were able to spot and correct the error.

    It should be absolutely trivial to recognize that:

    1) a conclusion that is reached via both S1/S2 warrants greater confidence than a conclusion reached by S1 alone

    2) a conclusion reached via S1/S2 by competitive assessment among multiple independent parties warrants greater confidence than an S1/S2 conclusion reached by one individual

    3) an S1/S2 assessment performed with more objective evidence warrants greater confidence than an S1/S2 assessment performed with less objective evidence or no objective evidence

    4) possessing greater relevant knowledge and expertise improves the likelihood of an accurate S1/S2 assessment (an expert assessment warrants greater confidence than a non-expert assessment)

    5) a consensus of experts performing a rigorous S1/S2 valuation warrants far greater confidence than the S1 or S1/S2 assessment of an isolated non-expert

    The NESS and this blog is a perfect example of the more highly evolved members of society striving to lead the less educated, to create a happier and more peaceful world.

    No. What we would like is for more people to be like the 10% in the study, who were careful enough before leaping to conclusions to apply ALL their reasoning faculties (ergo, critical thinking).

  101. hardnose says:

    It doesn’t matter how careful you are to apply all your reasoning faculties. You still won’t have world peace and prosperity. Even if you end religion, the world will still have its problems.

    There is a big central error in your approach, which I am trying to show you. You believe that System 2 is the Savior.

    More System 2 can decrease certain kinds of errors. That will not make people saner, kinder, or more sensible.

    Please just look at your assumption and just give it a moment of thought. Sounds nice, but is it true?

    This is a critical aspect of certain unbridgeable divisions in our current society.

  102. hardnose says:

    By the way, the biggest problem Kahneman sees with human irrationality is the tendency for experts to be over-confident. That is where I definitely agree with Kahneman.

  103. hardnose says:

    System 2 has its purpose, and we should try to use it as needed. But System 2 is limited, and it is often over-used. We often try to analyze things when we do not have enough reliable data. No amount of careful analysis will give the right answer if the data is wrong.

    I have nothing against System 2. But it is only a small part of the overall system. It cannot generate ideas, and it is not good at dealing with complexity.

  104. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] There is a big central error in your approach, which I am trying to show you. You believe that System 2 is the Savior. More System 2 can decrease certain kinds of errors. That will not make people saner, kinder, or more sensible.

    By your own admission greater application of S2 will result in MORE PEOPLE believing MORE TRUE THINGS and FEWER FALSE THINGS.

    Acting with a more carefully considered and accurate understanding of both cause-and-effect and consequence is preferable to acting with less. Less prone to error is preferable to more prone to error.

    Please just look at your assumption and just give it a moment of thought. Sounds nice, but is it true?

    Yes.

    I have nothing against System 2. But it is only a small part of the overall system. It cannot generate ideas, and it is not good at dealing with complexity.

    S2 is not fast when dealing with complexity, but it is more accurate, rule-based, and subject to objective and independent error correction.

    I listed five points above. Do you disagree?

  105. mumadadd says:

    Willy,

    “As someone once said, atheism is a religion (aka mythology) just like not collecting stamps is a hobby.”

    Antother one:

    Atheism is a religion just like abstinence is a sexual position.

    🙂

  106. hardnose says:

    “I listed five points above. Do you disagree?”

    Yes.

  107. hardnose says:

    “By your own admission greater application of S2 will result in MORE PEOPLE believing MORE TRUE THINGS and FEWER FALSE THINGS.”

    I said, S2 has some advantages under certain conditions, but it also has many disadvantages.

    More S2 will NOT result in a better society. S2 is limited, as I said.

    More S2 will not end religion. Your personal analysis led you to reject religion. But you don’t have all the data. No one does.

    In the early days of AI, some researchers decided that the limits of human reason are mostly caused by inadequate data, NOT because of faulty logic (Simon & Newell). I agree with that.

    Kahneman & Tversky, on the other hand, decided that bad decisions are mainly caused by faulty logic.

    But AI research has repeatedly shown that data is the problem, not logic. It’s easy to program a computer with perfect logic, but that doesn’t make it smart.

    Recent advances in AI have been because of bigger data and faster processing.

  108. mumadadd says:

    I’m struggling to work out which bits of hn’s post to quote to best illustrate this, because the lengthy one is basically all an exercise in it: false equivalence. But I’ll try to pull out the best bits:

    “I think we can all agree that people can be irrational. We see it all the time at this blog, for example.

    Okay, that was more hypocrisy based on a lie but bear with me.

    “People are irrational because it is not possible to find out everything for ourselves, so we have to trust experts and authorities on most things. Starting in early childhood, we hear things spoken with authority and we believe them, and we repeat them. And this continues.”

    Here we go — the real meat of hn’s position on everything: some authorities promulgate bad information, and there’s no way to distinguish bad information from good; no objective way to judge the quality one authority’s information from that of another. Nothing can be known for sure so all knowledge is equally invalid.

    “Sometimes what we hear from authorities conflicts with other things we heard, and then we have to decide which is most likely correct.”

    “Our society is large and complex, and we now have multiple centers of authority. It isn’t just the church, or just the bible, or just academia. It’s all of those, plus others.”

    It’s all just… authorities; no standards of evidence, no better or worse processes, and definitely no accumulation of knowledge that can be built upon. The rugged individual can ignore all of that and choose to ignore authorities (and standards of evidence, and process) in general and and treat everything he hears with equal weight — except that which supports what he already believes.

    “It is our natural trust of authority that makes us irrational. Many of the things we learn from authorities are not really understood. But they are spoken with authority anyway, and can seem very convincing, so we are likely to believe them.”

    Well yes, I actually agree with this, sort of. People invest belief in spurious authorities who have no understanding of what they are talking about. If only there were some set of standards and methods by which to test all these competing claims.

    “But should we blame System 1 for Nazism? Or was it really the experts and authorities? At that time, eugenics was an accepted scientific theory, and was popular all over Europe and in the USA.”

    Science is equivalent with Nazism. Or was it the Church? Or was it political ideology playing to a ripe environment? Who can tell? Who can possibly disentangle a set of methods and standards for quantifying observable patterns in nature from the socio-political climate and motivations in which some experiments were conducted?

    “The experts were saying that some ethnic groups are inferior, and most people believed it. Why would they doubt the scientific experts?”

    Because there is no possible way of discerning bad information from good!

    “However, people will always find ways to feel they are more highly evolved than others. Now we have System 2, and “critical thinking skills.” If you are skilled at conscious analysis, you are less likely to be irrational and cruel, more likely to be compassionate and reasonable. You are more highly evolved.”

    If you ever suggest that people can be irrational, and it’s not because they believed an authority, it’s because you think you are more highly evolved than everyone else. These ‘heuristics’ and ‘brain regions’ don’t exist in my ontology. Again I refer to my gross misrepresentations of both Steven Novella’s post and Daniel Kahneman’s book above.

    “The NESS and this blog is a perfect example of the more highly evolved members of society striving to lead the less educated, to create a happier and more peaceful world.

    The NESS is a missionary organization.”

    Yep, just like an expansionist religion, the factual claim of which are equally valid with all others. E.g. chiropractic for insomnia.

  109. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] Yes.

    Please provide your reasoning. Here are the five points:

    https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/in-half-a-second/#comment-447943

    [hardnose] I said, S2 has some advantages under certain conditions, but it also has many disadvantages. More S2 will NOT result in a better society. S2 is limited, as I said.

    Greater application of S1/S2, as opposed to S1 alone, will result in MORE PEOPLE believing MORE TRUE THINGS and FEWER FALSE THINGS. Acting with a more carefully considered and accurate understanding of both cause-and-effect and consequence is preferable to acting with less. Less prone to error is preferable to more prone to error.

    More S2 will not end religion. Your personal analysis led you to reject religion. But you don’t have all the data. No one does.

    “Critical thinking” is not “anti-theism.” I do not care one jot what religious beliefs another person holds so long as neither I nor others are subjected to them.

    In the early days of AI, some researchers decided that the limits of human reason are mostly caused by inadequate data, NOT because of faulty logic (Simon & Newell). I agree with that.

    No you don’t. If that were true you would acquiesce to experts, who possess knowledge of far more data than yourself.

    Kahneman & Tversky, on the other hand, decided that bad decisions are mainly caused by faulty logic.

    Kahneman won the Nobel in economics because he demonstrated a heuristic that consistently leads to choices that are irrational given a person’s stated objectives (Prospect Theory). No one just “decided” it. Prospect theory is a model of the actual real-world data. Kahneman’s subsequent work similarly models real-world heuristic effects.

    Even when people have all the data necessary to make an accurate decision heuristics can lead to a prevalence sub-optimal choices. Again, refer to the research you cited above.

    But AI research has repeatedly shown that data is the problem, not logic. It’s easy to program a computer with perfect logic, but that doesn’t make it smart.

    Would a computer with MORE perfect logic be preferable to a computer with LESS perfect logic?

    Would a person who applied MORE reasoning faculties to a problem (S1/S2) be more likely to be correct than a person who applied FEWER reasoning faculties (S1 only)?

  110. chikoppi says:

    @mumadadd

    I think that sums it up.

    You can’t tell me I’m wrong because I am accountable to no objective standards, but I can tell everyone else they are wrong because there are no objective standards by which they could conceivably be correct.

    Stunning. A form of solipsism really.

  111. hardnose says:

    I forgot to add this:

    Then you will say that System 2 is obviously superior because look at technology. You think logic, science and technology are all the same thing, but they aren’t.

    Technology is no more a product of System 2 than art is.

  112. hardnose says:

    “Would a person who applied MORE reasoning faculties to a problem (S1/S2) be more likely to be correct than a person who applied FEWER reasoning faculties (S1 only)?”

    It would depend entirely on what kind of problem it is.

  113. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] Then you will say that System 2 is obviously superior because look at technology. You think logic, science and technology are all the same thing, but they aren’t.

    Don’t put words in my mouth or assume what I think.

    It would depend entirely on what kind of problem it is.

    And how would you know the difference?

    If two people with equal access to information put forth different S1 assumptions how shall they resolve which is more likely to be correct?

  114. hardnose says:

    I NEVER said System 2 is useless. I said it has a role in cognition. I said it has limits. So you interpreted that to mean I don’t think logic is necessary??

  115. hardnose says:

    mumadadd:

    “the real meat of hn’s position on everything: some authorities promulgate bad information, and there’s no way to distinguish bad information from good; no objective way to judge the quality one authority’s information from that of another. Nothing can be known for sure so all knowledge is equally invalid.”

    Congratulations, you have misunderstood everything I ever said here.

  116. BillyJoe7 says:

    Everyone misunderstands hn.
    Common denominator: hn
    Guess who has the problem.

  117. Damlowet says:

    I have had this itch in my mind since reading Steve article, and it was that I had encountered “Thinking fast and slow” in David Mcraney podcast “You are not so smart” before. He actually spoke about system 1 and 2 in the episode. He also linked to a very quick and simple test that anyone can do to show how our system 1 thinking can lead to wrong decisions. 3 question cognitive reflection test.

    It would have be good if at the top of Steve’s article, he asked these three questions so ‘we’ could attempt them un-primed, just like the logic test (confirmation bias article) Steve posted so time ago.

    Anyway, after the above article it will probably be a little hard to do these without for-warning, so don’t be surprised if your not surprised!

    I will link to the article attached at the end.

    (The original test penned by Dr. Frederick contained only the three following questions:[1]

    A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? _____ cents

    If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _____ minutes

    In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? _____ days)

    Answers and article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_reflection_test

    Damien

    The answers are: 5 cents, 5 minutes, and 47 days.

  118. Damlowet says:

    I have had this itch in my mind since reading Steve article, and it was that I had encountered “Thinking fast and slow” in David Mcraney podcast “You are not so smart” before. He actually spoke about system 1 and 2 in the episode. He also linked to a very quick and simple test that anyone can do to show how our system 1 thinking can lead to wrong decisions. 3 question cognitive reflection test.

    It would have be good if at the top of Steve’s article, he asked these three questions so ‘we’ could attempt them un-primed, just like the logic test (confirmation bias article) Steve posted so time ago.

    Anyway, after the above article it will probably be a little hard to do these without for-warning, so don’t be surprised if your not surprised!

    I will link to the article attached at the end.

    (The original test penned by Dr. Frederick contained only the three following questions:[1]

    A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? _____ cents

    If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets? _____ minutes

    In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half of the lake? _____ days)

    Answers and article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_reflection_test

    Damien

    .

  119. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] NEVER said System 2 is useless. I said it has a role in cognition. I said it has limits. So you interpreted that to mean I don’t think logic is necessary??

    Yes, I agree. No form of cognition either infallible or limitless.

    I also agree that S2 is necessary.

    The question is why and in what circumstances is S1/S2 necessary (as opposed to subjectively relying on S1) and how can degrees of confidence best be established when different people put forth different conclusions.

    I laid out a clear hierarchy above. You said you disagreed. What then shall be an objective standard of epistemology?

  120. Damlowet says:

    Ah crap, stuffed it!

  121. hardnose says:

    “The question is why and in what circumstances is S1/S2 necessary (as opposed to subjectively relying on S1) and how can degrees of confidence best be established when different people put forth different conclusions.”

    I think all we know about S1 and S2 is that S1 is subconscious and S2 is conscious. We might over-value S2 because it’s all we are aware of.

    Different people have different conclusions all the time, and all we can do is try to sort things out as well as we can. There is no easy way to always know what is true.

    Most of the data we need is unknown to us (especially since we can’t know the future), and most of our thinking goes on outside our conscious awareness. So no, a happy day is not coming when everyone will agree about everything.

    Most of the time, that’s all I am really saying at this blog. I am never saying I know the answers and I know more than the experts. I am usually just saying that the experts are over-confident in their opinions. And Kahneman said that also, by the way.

  122. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] Different people have different conclusions all the time, and all we can do is try to sort things out as well as we can. There is no easy way to always know what is true.

    You keep trying to answer a question other than what I asked.

    The question is why and in what circumstances is S1/S2 necessary (as opposed to subjectively relying on S1) and how can degrees of confidence best be established when different people put forth different conclusions. I laid out a clear hierarchy above. You said you disagreed. What then shall be an objective standard of epistemology?

    Here’s a scenario that might make it easier for you.

    An unknown biological plague has been detected. It’s virulent enough to decimate the population and you’re in the path with no way to escape.

    There have been several hypotheses put forth by expert and non-expert groups alike on how to stop the plague. Only one can be tried. You can’t know what the hypotheses are or participate in the decision, but you can define the objective standards by which one will be chosen.

    By what standards should the most likely to be correct hypothesis be identified?

    Most of the time, that’s all I am really saying at this blog. I am never saying I know the answers and I know more than the experts. I am usually just saying that the experts are over-confident in their opinions. And Kahneman said that also, by the way.

    I think the “I am never saying I know more than the experts” ship sailed long, long ago. You don’t know the extent of what the experts know and are in no position to determine if or when they may be over-cautious or over-confident.

  123. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    The advantage of System 2 thinking is that its premises underlying it can be examined to see if they’re true (as far as anything outside of mathematics can be said to be true). The problem with System 1 thinking is that its underlying premises can’t be examined because they’re inaccessible in the unconscious.

    Most decisions will be made by S1 thinking because life’s too short to worry about doing a detailed analysis of all decisions, most of which will be trivial ones.

    But important decisions should be made on the basis of S2 thinking, and if you’re trying to convince someone else of your perspective, you need to base it on an argument based on S2, laying out the premises upon which it was based.

    Your trying to convince us of your perspective based on S1 thinking won’t work, because you’re not aware of its underlying premises, let alone communicate them to anyone else. It’s one of the reasons we’re not impressed by your view that the universe is intelligent (or conscious).

  124. hardnose says:

    I never criticized System 1 thinking, and I never minimized its importance.

  125. chikoppi says:

    Another answer to a question not asked.

    It’s OK for you to simply say, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” It’s pretty clear at this point that’s where you stand.

  126. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘I never criticized System 1 thinking, and I never minimized its importance.?

    Yes, but what do you think about System 2 thinking?

  127. BillyJoe7 says:

    You guys are trying to pin jelly to a wall. 😀
    (Great fun to watch though)

  128. hardnose says:

    I meant I never criticized System 2 thinking, and I never minimized its importance.

  129. hardnose says:

    I repeated the same things several times but no one understands it I guess.

    The S1/S2 dichotomy gives the impression that S1 is faster and easier, and more primitive, while S2 is more difficult but more advanced.

    I agree that there is subconscious and conscious thinking — psychologists have known that for over a century.

    I do NOT agree that the subconscious is generally more primitive. I do NOT think that trying to increase S2 and decrease S1 will benefit the world.

    Kahneman sees S1 as the major source of errors. He does NOT see it as a source of wisdom or creativity. He does NOT see it as superior to S1 in some ways.

    Kahneman thinks the main reason we use S1 is because it’s faster and easier. I think he is only talking about certain aspects of S1. I think S1 is vast and not well understood.

  130. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,y

    ‘I meant I never critisized System 2 thinking and I never minimized its importance.’

    I knew that’s what you meant. It’s one thing to miss a typo’ in a longish comment. It’s another completely different thing to miss a typo’ in a very short comment which completely changes its meaning.

    Perhaps you were relying on your System 1 thinking instead of your System 2 thinking to do the proofreading before pressing the ‘Post Comment’ box?

    As I’ve noted. Kahneman doesn’t deride System 1 thinking. He calls it the hero of his book. He gives examples where System 2 thinking gives inferior results to System 1 thinking in similar situations.

    But. The underlying premises of System 2 thinking can be examined to ensure they’re valid. Those of System 1 thinking can’t. Important decisions should be made with System 2. If you want to convince someone else of your perspectives, you need to use System 2 thinking, laying out the premises behind them.

    Your trying to convince us of your views using your System 1 thinking is not only futile, but also trollish in nature.

  131. BillyJoe7 says:

    hardnosey 🙂

  132. BillyJoe7 says:

    I haven’t read Kahneman’s book* but it seems I’m no worse of than hn who doesn’t seem to know what’s in the book either, even though he has read it! – or at least that’s the impression he’s giving**

    *My kindle wasn’t connecting to the internet but it’s now fixed and I’ll download it on the weekend.
    **correct me if I’m wrong hn.

  133. hardnose says:

    “It’s one thing to miss a typo’ in a longish comment. It’s another completely different thing to miss a typo’ in a very short comment which completely changes its meaning.”

    So, because I missed a typo that somehow invalidates what I’m saying?

    You know, I consider commenting on this blog to be practice in writing for a hostile audience. It’s easy to write for people who already see things your way, so practicing that is kind of a waste of time.

    One thing I have noticed in my years of writing for hostile audiences (atheists, socialists, extremists of various kinds), is that TYPOS are a very big deal! One little typo and they decide you’re stupid and your ideas are worthless. So I learned to be VERY careful and to proofread every comment.

    And then yesterday, after years of hardly any typos I made one. I just made another with that darn System 1 and 2 things. And SURE ENOUGH it was considered a BIG DEAL.

  134. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    You made the typo’ because you were relying on your System 1 instead of your System 2.

    And if you want to convince a ‘hostile audience’, try using your System 2 instead of your System 1.

    It’s typical troll behaviour to try to convince anyone with subjective System 1 thinking.

    You don’t need practice in convincing a ‘hostile audience.’ You need better arguments.

    And anyway. You have made many, many errors over the years trolling. Not just hardly any.

  135. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] I do NOT agree that the subconscious is generally more primitive. I do NOT think that trying to increase S2 and decrease S1 will benefit the world.

    Kahneman sees S1 as the major source of errors. He does NOT see it as a source of wisdom or creativity. He does NOT see it as superior to S1 in some ways.

    Kahneman thinks the main reason we use S1 is because it’s faster and easier. I think he is only talking about certain aspects of S1. I think S1 is vast and not well understood.

    This is not accurate.

    No one thinks S1 is “more primitive” as a system. It is different and those differences have strengths and weaknesses.

    No one wants to “decrease” S1. We want to add more S2 where and when it is important (bachfiend has described this at length).

    Kahneman has measured and catalogued many of the types of heuristic errors that S1 is consistently prone to committing. Being aware of those potential errors and applying S2 to detect and correct them is a good thing. That’s what critical thinking is.

    The main reason we use S1 is because we can’t not use S1. There is no choice involved. There is only a choice of whether or not to apply S2.

  136. hardnose says:

    “And if you want to convince a ‘hostile audience’, try using your System 2 instead of your System 1.”

    I have NEVER advocated using only System 1. If you think that, you missed the whole point.

  137. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘I have NEVER advocated using only System 1. If you think that, you have missed the whole point.’

    You have missed the whole point. If you want to convince a ‘hostile audience’, then you need to use System 2, laying out the underlying premises for examination.

    Your repeated statement that your view that the Universe is intelligent or conscious isn’t a scientific theory (there’s no evidence for it) is just one example of your System 1 thinking (it seems to make sense to you and no one else).

  138. hardnose says:

    “Your repeated statement that your view that the Universe is intelligent or conscious isn’t a scientific theory (there’s no evidence for it) is just one example of your System 1 thinking (it seems to make sense to you and no one else).”

    You are being silly bachfiend.

    I can think the universe is intelligent for philosophical and logical reasons, which are no more System 1 than your opinion that the universe is dead. I did NOT get this opinion because of intuition.

    And you think this makes sense to me and no one else??!! You really live in your little atheist bubble. Nothing gets in from outside.

  139. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘I think the universe is intelligent for philosophical and logical reasons, which are no more System 1 than your opinion that the universe is dead. I did NOT get this opinion because of intuition.’

    The universe isn’t ‘dead’. It’s evolving, from its origin in the Big Bang to its eventual demise in the heat death trillions of years in the future. I have evidence that this is as true as anything else we know.

    You don’t have any evidence that the universe is intelligent.

    I’m not claiming that you got your ‘intelligent’ universe from intuition. Or from System 1 thinking. Even conceding that you’ve got it from System 2 thinking, I am claiming that its underlying premises are wrong, so the conclusion is wrong too, regardless of whether the logical argument is valid or not.

    And you won’t find many philosophers who agree with you that the universe is intelligent.

  140. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] And you think this makes sense to me and no one else??!! You really live in your little atheist bubble. Nothing gets in from outside.

    Cripes but you are a rube.

    A-theism is lack of belief in gods. It is not a position with respect to dualism. An atheist can also be a dualist and entertain notions of disembodied sentience.

    You dont even know what the terms you slander others with actually mean. It’s just embarassing.

  141. BillyJoe7 says:

    hn: “I can think the universe is intelligent for philosophical and logical reasons”

    Philosophy not based in science is useless.
    Philosophers invented science for the very reason that for every philosopher there was a different philosophy with no way within philosophy to tell which are true and which are false.

    If your intelligent universe is based purely in philosophy, and your logic on unsubstantiated premises, then it does not even raise to the level of an hypothesis.

  142. BillyJoe7 says:

    hn: “Kahneman sees S1 as the major source of errors. He does NOT see it as a source of wisdom or creativity. He does NOT see it as superior to S2 in some ways.

    Kahneman: “Although System 2 believes itself to be where the action is, the automatic System 1 is the hero of the book…The automatic operations of System 1 generate surprisingly complex patterns of ideas”

  143. hardnose says:

    “The universe isn’t ‘dead’. It’s evolving, from its origin in the Big Bang to its eventual demise in the heat death trillions of years in the future. I have evidence that this is as true as anything else we know.”

    I NEVER said the universe was NOT evolving. And you DON’T think it’s alive, so you DO think it’s dead.

    You don’t care about logic, bachfiend, you only care about disagreeing with me.

  144. hardnose says:

    “If your intelligent universe is based purely in philosophy, and your logic on unsubstantiated premises, then it does not even raise to the level of an hypothesis.”

    I NEVER SAID IT DID. I have to repeat everything. I SAID it’s just my belief, and is no more scientific than your belief that the universe is dead and mindless.

  145. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘I think the universe is intelligent for philosophical and logical reasons, which are no more System 1 than your opinion that the universe is dead. I did NOT get this opinion because of intuition.’

    The opposite of ‘intelligent’ is not ‘dead’, it’s ‘not intelligent’. You’re making a straw man ascribing to me opinions I don’t hold.

    “‘If your intelligent universe is based purely in philosophy, and your logic on unsubstantiated premises, then this does not not even rise to the level of a hypothesis.’

    ‘I NEVER SAID IT DID. I have to repeat everything. I SAID it’s just my belief, and it’s no more (sic) scientific than your belief that the universe is dead and mindless.’”

    Beliefs are unsubstantiated opinions without evidence. Typical System 1 thinking. The fact that the universe is ‘mindless’ (ie doesn’t have a ‘mind’, doesn’t have a ‘brain’ isn’t just our belief, it’s the opinion of all cosmologists and astrophysicists, because the alternative that it has a ‘mind’ is incoherent.

    Your belief that the universe is intelligent and conscious is highly incoherent (anyway, if it’s just your belief, who else exactly shares this belief?). For it to be coherent, it should have observable consequences different to that we’d expect to see if the universe isn’t intelligent or conscious (which is the null hypothesis).

    What exactly do you see in the universe that makes you think it’s intelligent and conscious, not explicable on the basis that it isn’t?

  146. Willy says:

    hardnose: I have a buddy who also thinks that he is entitled to his own opinion on any subject, regardless of whether he knows anything about it or not. He rejects climate science, despite having NO science education since high school almost 60 years ago, because (he says) it isn’t “logical” (he prides himself on his “logic”) that humans could influence the climate. After a brief touch on Einstein’s relativity at lunch one day (he is utterly clueless about relativity), he announced at our next meeting that, using “logic”, he came to understand why we can’t go faster than the speed of light. His “logic” informed him that exceeding the SoL would result in not being able to see where one was going, hence unseen collisions would be inevitable. Ergo, the SoL is inviolable. ROFLMFAO!

    Your thinking reminds me of him. You think you are entitled to your opinions regardless of the lack of evidence or facts. People like YOU are why the Founders of this country didn’t have much trust in the common man.

  147. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] NEVER SAID IT DID. I have to repeat everything. I SAID it’s just my belief, and is no more scientific than your belief that the universe is dead and mindless.

    I guess we can add “scientific” to the list of words you don’t comprehend.

    The null position is that rocks and stars and other forms of matter don’t think because they don’t have brains. Brains, as all evidence indicates, are the prerequisite for minds. Minds are the prerequisite for intelligence.

    I don’t believe brainless minds exist because there is no evidence of such a thing. Science requires evidence to first establish that a thing exists.

  148. hardnose says:

    Willy,

    I don’t care what your friend believes. It has nothing whatsoever to do with me.

  149. hardnose says:

    “Brains, as all evidence indicates, are the prerequisite for minds.”

    You are contradicting yourself, since you also believe artificial intelligence is possible.

  150. hardnose says:

    “Your belief that the universe is intelligent and conscious is highly incoherent (anyway, if it’s just your belief, who else exactly shares this belief?).”

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-we-living-in-a-computer-simulation/

    Just because YOU never heard of it doesn’t mean no one else has. It’s a very common belief in computer science.

  151. Willy says:

    The point is, my dear hardnose, is that he, like you, believes he can have valid opinions that are worthy of respect when he has no evidence to support those opinions. Capiche?

  152. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    “‘Brains, as all evidence indicates, are prerequisite for minds.’

    ‘You are contracticting yourself, since you also believe artificial intelligence is possible.’”

    Artificial intelligence already exists. The development of machine intelligence, with all the features of human intelligence, would be necessary to produce a manufactured mind.

    If that ever happens, the machinery holding the machine intelligence and the machine mind would be a brain, even if it’s made out of silicon or some other inorganic material. The brain and mind would physically exist, not be some non-material property of the universe.

    Anyway. I’m perfectly aware of the hypothesis that we’re living in a computer simulation. There’s at least some evidence for it – it would explain quantum entanglement in particle pairs light years apart (they’re actually not that far apart – they’re actually on the same equivalent of a hard drive).

    So, is that what you believe? That the universe is intelligent and conscious because we’re living in a computer simulation? If that’s what you believe, then why didn’t you say so before? I would agree that other people share your belief, if that’s what you believe. Although, it wouldn’t be that the Universe is intelligent, just the virtual universe within a computer that’s intelligent.

    The idea that we’re living in a computer simulation is a real scientific hypothesis, testable and falsifiable. It’s not a matter of ‘belief’, just a matter of evidence and data. You’ve claimed that your intelligent universe is belief and not a scientific hypothesis, which is a contradiction.

  153. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] You are contradicting yourself, since you also believe artificial intelligence is possible.

    That is (or would be) no contradiction.

    An “artificial intelligence” refers to an object, in this case a computer, that is sufficiently “brain-like” to carry out similar functions. The AI computer is the brain.

    A functioning AI would not invalidate the null hypothesis. Brains are the prerequisite for minds because we have never observed otherwise.

    If you want to assert something else you’ll first need to objectively demonstrate that hypothesis BECAUSE THAT’S HOW SCIENCE WORKS.

    I don’t know that AI is possible and won’t unless it is demonstrated. Because I don’t know if it is possible I cannot and do not use it as a premise to explain-away things I don’t understand.

    Making stuff up to satisfy your desire for an explanation is not at all “scientific.” That’s called the argument from ignorance fallacy.

  154. chikoppi says:

    [backfiend] Anyway. I’m perfectly aware of the hypothesis that we’re living in a computer simulation. There’s at least some evidence for it – it would explain quantum entanglement in particle pairs light years apart (they’re actually not that far apart – they’re actually on the same equivalent of a hard drive).

    I don’t think we should grant that the status of evidence. There are also competing hypotheses that equally account for perceived violations of spacetime, such as entanglement as an effect that occurs through higher dimensions and the holographic universe hypothesis.

    https://phys.org/news/2017-01-reveals-substantial-evidence-holographic-universe.html

    All interesting hypotheses, but the potential of a hypothesis to provide explanatory excuse is not, in itself, substantiating evidence.

  155. bachfiend says:

    chikoppi,

    ‘I don’t think we should grant that the status of evidence.’

    Not very good evidence, agreed. Not compelling enough to make the computer simulation hypothesis even suggestive, but still evidence.

    Which is considerably more evidence than hardnose has even presented for the intelligent universe.

  156. BillyJoe7 says:

    BJ: “If your intelligent universe is based purely in philosophy, and your logic on unsubstantiated premises, then it does not even raise to the level of an hypothesis”

    HN: “I NEVER SAID IT DID. I have to repeat everything. I SAID it’s just my belief, and is no more scientific than your belief that the universe is dead and mindless”

    Yes, I know.
    I just like to see you repeat your EMBARRASSMENT.
    Your belief in an intelligent universe is like a belief in faeries.
    Except not as cute.

    And you missed the point, which is encompassed by the word USELESS.
    In CAPITALS.

    What is the point in believing something with philosophy not based in science and with logic not based on substantiated premises?
    What is the USELESS FRIGGIN’ POINT?

  157. BillyJoe7 says:

    HN,

    The following is a quote from Kahneman’s book “Thinking Fast and Slow”:

    In the unlikely event of this book being turned into a film, System 2 would be a supporting character who believes himself to be the hero. The defining feature of System 2 is that its operations are effortful, and one of its main characteristics is laziness, a reluctance to invest more effort than is strictly necessary. As a consequence, the thoughts and actions that system 2 believes it has chosen are often guided by the figure at the centre of the story, System 1.

    You obviously have a false impression of what Kahneman is saying.
    Maybe you should read his book again (assuming, of course, that you have already read it once!)

  158. hardnose says:

    SN:
    “we evolved rapid-response cognitive systems that makes quick and dirty judgments that are accurate enough and biased in whatever direction favors survival. We can then follow up these quick perceptions with more careful analysis when we have time.”

    According to SN, all we have is “quick and dirty” vs “careful analysis.” So of course we must assume that our mistakes all result from being lazy and relying too much on quick and dirty.

    I think that’s wrong. Most of our bad decisions come from not knowing the future. Also from not knowing what other people are really thinking.

    We also engage in wrong thinking because of wishful thinking and craving certainty. And too much faith in experts and authorities.

    I also think logical analysis can be a SOURCE of errors, because it does not deal with complexity well. And it tends to go in circles when critical information is missing. And it can block creative solutions from the subconscious.

    But in Kahneman and Novella’s world, our defective thinking is all blamed on not enough logical analysis. I am NOT in anyway against logical analysis! But it is not going to save the world.

    System 1 is NOT our major source of stupidity, and System 2 is NOT our major source of wisdom.

  159. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] According to SN, all we have is “quick and dirty” vs “careful analysis.” So of course we must assume that our mistakes all result from being lazy and relying too much on quick and dirty.

    NO! Stop strawmanning.

    Kahneman identified consistent errors in judgement that arise from unconscious heuristics. When we don’t carefully and consciously assess particular categories of cognitive problems we are far more prone to make these errors in judgement and nonetheless be confident in that assessment.

    This is true even when all the information needed to make and accurate assessment is available. Refer to the very study that you referenced above.

    The problem is not lack of information. The problem is how the brain automatically filters and prioritizes information.

    I think that’s wrong. Most of our bad decisions come from not knowing the future. Also from not knowing what other people are really thinking.

    “The future” has nothing to do with it. Heuristics impact logical assessment. A logic problem that is objectively wrong today is not going to become less wrong tomorrow. None of this is about predicting future events or reading other people’s minds.

    We also engage in wrong thinking because of wishful thinking and craving certainty. And too much faith in experts and authorities.

    Yes to “wishful thinking” and and “faith” in authorities.

    No to deference to experts who have relevant specialized knowledge and are in a far better position to make an informed assessment.

    I also think logical analysis can be a SOURCE of errors, because it does not deal with complexity well. And it tends to go in circles when critical information is missing. And it can block creative solutions from the subconscious.

    Where is your evidence that S2 “does not deal with complexity well” or “can block creative solutions form the unconscious.” This is an unfounded assertion. The global telecommunication system, for instance, is a massively complex enterprise, made possible only through the application of S2.

    We can certainly get a logical analysis wrong, BUT many minds can objectively assess a logical analysis and the errors are therefore subject to identification and correction. This is not possible with S1 alone, which means there is no error correction without S2.

    But in Kahneman and Novella’s world, our defective thinking is all blamed on not enough logical analysis. I am NOT in anyway against logical analysis! But it is not going to save the world.

    System 1 is NOT our major source of stupidity, and System 2 is NOT our major source of wisdom.

    NO!

    No one is saying S1 is not productive. What we are saying is that S1 has known deficiencies that can ONLY be identified and corrected by application of S2.

    Why in the world anyone would be in favor of being wrong more often and not even knowing it?

  160. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    “‘Your belief that the universe is intelligent and conscious is highly incoherent (anyway, if it’s just your belief, who exactly shares this belief?)’ [my comment to you]

    [Your link to a Scientific American article on the hypothesis we’re living in a computer simulation]

    ‘Just because YOU never heard of it doesn’t mean no one else has. It’s a very common belief in computer science.’

    ‘So is that what you believe?’ [my answer to you]”

    You haven’t denied it. I take it then you believe that we’re living in a computer simulation? In which case, all your objections against S2 thinking are irrelevant because it’s something that our computer overlords have programmed us to have.

  161. hardnose says:

    “all your objections against S2 thinking are irrelevant because it’s something that our computer overlords have programmed us to have.”

    I DON’T OBJECT TO S2 THINKING. Dam, I get tired of repeating things for you. I feel like a special Ed. teacher.

    And I never said I think there are computer overlords.

    I think the universe is made of multi-dimensional information. I don’t know how or why. No one does.

    There are many physicists and computer scientists who think so also. Some of them might assume there is a biological orgasm somewhere that programs it, but I don’t.

  162. Willy says:

    “I think the universe is made of multi-dimensional information. I don’t know how or why. No one does.”….nonetheless I am confident enough in my Silly Wild Assed Guess that I can degrade and mock the opinions others hold. My brain is open to ANY possibility, no matter how baseless. Why aren’t you folks “open-minded” like I am?

  163. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] I think the universe is made of multi-dimensional information. I don’t know how or why. No one does.

    IF. You mean you don’t know IF the universe is made of “X.”

    “Multi-dimensional information” is an empty term. “Information” means facts about something. There is no information independent of what that information describes. Information about “nothing” is not information.

    Existence must precede information about that which exists (to borrow a philosophical phrase).

  164. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘Some of them might assume there is a biological orgasm somewhere that programs it, but I don’t.’

    I’m certain that there is, many of them in fact. I seem to remember I might have had one, once. But it programs nothing.

    I asked you who shares your belief that the universe is intelligent and conscious, and you provided as your answer the people who think we’re living in a computer simulation, which by definition has a ‘computer overlord.’

    It’s obvious that you’d either fell to defective S1 thinking or failed with your S2 thinking.

  165. hardnose says:

    “people who think we’re living in a computer simulation, which by definition has a ‘computer overlord.’”

    It doesn’t have to be a human being, obviously. It doesn’t have to be something on our dimensional level.

    It is possible, and advisable, sometimes to admit we DO NOT KNOW something.

  166. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘It is possible, and advisable, sometimes to admit we DO NOT KNOW something.’

    I do admit that we don’t know that ‘the universe is made of multi-dimensional information.’ It’s an incoherent concept which explains nothing.

    ‘It doesn’t have to be human being, obviously. It doesn’t have to be something on our dimensional level.’ No one proposing the idea that we’re living in a computer simulation suggested that the computer programmer had to be a human being, instead being some sort of ‘biological orgasm’ that programs it.

    On reflection, it could be a non-biological ‘orgasm’ that did the programming, if the simulation is in a Machine Intelligence, engaging in something like a dream. Or simulating our universe as some sort of project for unknown reasons. But anyway. If we’re in a computer simulation, then the computer is not on ‘our dimensional level.’

    The universe is a computer in principle similar to human-produced computers. Input in a human-produced computer leads to output. The same happens in the universe with events leading to results as a result of physical regularities inherent in the universe. There could be a higher dimensional multiverse.

    But there’s no need to assume that there’s an intelligence doing the programming.

  167. hardnose says:

    “There could be a higher dimensional multiverse.”

    I think there could.

    “But there’s no need to assume that there’s an intelligence doing the programming.”

    It’s hard to imagine a non-intelligence doing the programming.

  168. Willy says:

    I’m quite interested in learning more about the potential capabilities of “biological orgasms”…

  169. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] It’s hard to imagine a non-intelligence doing the programming.

    And there it is.

    First, assume a paradigm of “programming” (which is absurdly unwarranted and reductive).

    Second, plead an argument from ignorance (“it’s hard to imagine…”).

    This is what Kahneman refers to as the WYSIATI (what you see is all there is) hazard of S1 thinking.

  170. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘It’s hard to imagine a non-intelligence doing the programming.’

    No, it isn’t. The Oxford English Dictionary in the definition of ‘program’ includes in its definition ‘cause (a person or animal) to behave in a predetermined way’, providing as an example ‘all members of a species are programmed to build nests in the same way.’

    There’s no programmer, besides evolution and natural selection, doing the programming.

    You don’t have much imagination.

  171. hardnose says:

    “There’s no programmer, besides evolution and natural selection, doing the programming.”

    According to you and the other materialists.

    If the universe is intelligence, it programs itself.

  172. hardnose says:

    Since no one knows the answers to these questions, you should stop pretending you know.

    Deceiving yourself into thinking you know things you can’t possibly know is a major cause of illogical thinking.

  173. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘If the universe is intelligence, it programs itself.’

    If, if, if, if…

    ‘Since no one knows the answers to these questions, you should stop pretending you know.’ But you know that the universe is intelligence, don’t you?

    ‘Deceiving yourself into thinking you know things you can’t possibly know is a major cause of illogical thinking.’ Kettle meet pot.

  174. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] Since no one knows the answers to these questions, you should stop pretending you know. Deceiving yourself into thinking you know things you can’t possibly know is a major cause of illogical thinking.

    YOU are the one asserting causes for which there is no evidence.

    Everyone else here limits “knowledge” to what can be known and bases “belief” proportional to the available evidence. No one else asserts something that has not been demonstrated to exist as the cause of some other thing.

    This is exactly the crux of your incessant haranguing. “You could maybe be wrong because maybe X is real/exists.” None of these specious and idle conjectures can contradict actual observational facts.

    All available evidence indicates that “intelligence” is a product of brain function. We see it manifest as differences between species, in human developmental studies, in studies of abnormal or damaged brains, in experimental disruption of regions of the brain, in neurological studies of degenerative conditions, etc., etc.

    The one trapped in his own prison of bias is you, driven there by an irrational need to construct a narrative consistent with your desires and limited knowledge/experiences. This is precisely why you must refuse to acknowledge any expert consensus that contradicts your preferred narrative, yet are eager to aggrandize any source, no matter how thin or marginal, that you might interpret as sympathetic to your predetermined conclusion. You don’t start with an objective evaluation the evidence and work forward. You start with a story and deny anything that contradicts it. There’s your “major cause of illogical thinking.”

  175. BillyJoe7 says:

    We don’t know everything.
    Therefore we know nothing.
    Therefore my evidence free, philosophically vacuous, wild speculations could be true.
    And the future will prove me correct, just you wait and see.

  176. hardnose says:

    “All available evidence indicates that “intelligence” is a product of brain function. We see it manifest as differences between species, in human developmental studies, in studies of abnormal or damaged brains, in experimental disruption of regions of the brain, in neurological studies of degenerative conditions, etc., etc.”

    All of that evidence shows that a brain is required to communicate and interact with the physical world.

  177. hardnose says:

    “We don’t know everything.
    Therefore we know nothing.”

    I never said we know nothing. You must be hallucinating.

  178. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] All of that evidence shows that a brain is required to communicate and interact with the physical world.

    No. You are ASSERTING WITHOUT EVIDENCE that there is a “non-physical” world.

    You are claiming that there must be a “hidden” function of the brain, for which there is no evidence, that supports your unfounded narrative.

    The EVIDENCE demonstrates that “intelligence” changes as the physical brain changes. It also demonstrates that as a person “thinks” the brain does “work,” consuming calories, producing heat, transferring electro-chemical energy. Disrupting those processes impedes cognitive functions in very particular and consistent manners.

    You again demonstrate that you start with a narrative conclusion rather than proceeding from the evidence. It is YOU who is the ideological prisoner.

  179. Willy says:

    hardnose “I never said we know nothing. You must be hallucinating.”

    Your routinely imply that science is quite misguided and ignorant (say, with regard to evolution, the “intelligence” of the universe, medicine, and to psychology). It’s pretty clear that you think vast swaths of scientific endeavor KNOW NOTHING.

    I’m quite tired of your sentences that start with “I never said”. There’s a reason so many commenters here do realize that you do “think” exactly as they paraphrase your words. Learn to think or, at the very least, try to to express yourself more clearly.

    Meanwhile, thanks for so many good chuckles.

  180. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘All of that evidence shows that a brain is required to communicate and interact with the physical world.’

    So, if the universe doesn’t have a brain (not even as a Machine Intelligence computer which is running the universe as a computer simulation, which you appeared to suggest as supporting your beliefs, but then retreated from), but is ‘intelligence’, then that ‘intelligence’ is incapable of communicating and interacting with the physical world?

    I’d have little difficulty in accepting that there’s an ‘intelligence’ in the universe that does nothing. The difference between something that’s not there and something that does nothing is minimal.

  181. BillyJoe7 says:

    Hn:

    “I never said we know nothing”

    I didn’t say that you SAID it.
    That would have meant that you have understood the implication of everything you HAVE said.
    I don’t credit you with that degree of intelligence.

  182. hardnose says:

    “I don’t credit you with that degree of intelligence.”

    When you have nothing rational to say, just call your opponents stupid. That has always been BillyJoe7’s strategy.

  183. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘When you have nothing rational to say, just call your opponents stupid. That has always been BillyJoe7’s strategy.’

    Well, prove that you’re not stupid. Answer your “opponents’” arguments. Don’t ignore or deny them. BillyJoe has provided plenty of arguments against your worldview which you’ve dismissed as being just part of a ‘materialist ideology.’

  184. hardnose says:

    I never saw anything rational in BillyJoe7’s “arguments.” Just emotion, mostly rage. I don’t try communicating with anyone who is like that.

  185. BillyJoe7 says:

    You are not rational so you don’t understand a rational argument
    My rage meter never goes above tepid cool.
    You can’t communicate. Period.

  186. Willy says:

    hardnose has real difficulty in interpreting people’s actions and writings. F’rinstance seeing “rage” and “fear of good arguments” LOLOLOL

    I’m guessing most all of us are chuckling when we respond to the likes of Dr. Egnor and hardnose.

  187. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    Your standard ‘counter-argument’ is ‘according to you and the other materialists’.

    You’ve taken to heart the standard advice that it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than it is to open it and remove all doubt. Except you’ve forgotten the part about keeping your mouth shut.

  188. hardnose says:

    bachfiend,

    Your only argument is to call non-materialists stupid fools. Anyone can do that, it takes no brains or knowledge at all.

  189. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    It’s understandable that someone would become tempted to call you a fool when you’ve shown yourself incapable or unwilling to address arguments showing you that you’re wrong in your worldview over many years.

    Prove that you’re not a fool by addressing the arguments of your ‘opponents’, even if you think they’re ‘irrational’. If they’re irrational, then you should have no problem disproving them.

  190. hardnose says:

    “you’ve shown yourself incapable or unwilling to address arguments showing you that you’re wrong in your worldview over many years.”

    YOU think my worldview is wrong because you have a different worldview. I have responded to all arguments for materialism. YOU have not provided counter arguments for anything I said.

  191. chikoppi says:

    [hardnose] YOU think my worldview is wrong because you have a different worldview. I have responded to all arguments for materialism. YOU have not provided counter arguments for anything I said.

    That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    Your “arguments” consist of vague assertions. You steadfastly refuse to define terms and concepts when asked. When pressed, rather than presenting a cogent argument, you merely resort to “I’m not claiming to know anything.” What little you will commit to elucidating certainly has been refuted, including above in this very thread.

    Also what “arguments for materialism” have you responded to and what were those responses?

  192. bachfiend says:

    Hardnose,

    ‘YOU think my worldview is wrong because you have a different worldview. I have responded to all arguments for materialism. YOU have not provided counter arguments for anything I said.’

    No you haven’t.

    As an example, one of your arguments for an Intelligent Universe is that mutations are non-random directed and to benefit of the organism instead of random non-directed and with the deleterious mutations deleted and the beneficial mutations favoured by natural selection.

    I’ve asked you many times how you’d distinguish between the two alternatives. I’ve asked you many times what you’d expect to see in Lenski’s multidecade study on E. coli. Early frequent mutations to exploit citrate (as you’d expect if mutations are non-random directed and to the benefit of the organism)? Or late and infrequent (as you’d expect to see if mutations are random and non-directed with only the beneficial mutations favoured by natural selection)?

    The only answer I’ve ever received from you is a deafening silence. Many times.

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