Posts Tagged ‘superstition’

Michael Shermer on Self-Deception

Very interesting video. Michael Shermer discusses belief. Belief is the natural state of things, the default option of our minds. Science is not natural, it’s more difficult. It’s uncomfortable to not believe things. We have a "belief engine" in our brains. We find patterns and make connections. Like Pavlov’s dogs and Skinner’s rats.

Michael calls this pattern finding process "patternicity"--our tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise. L-Dopa (turns into dopamine) causes subjects to see more patterns, dopamine appears to be associated with patternicity. Neuroleptic drugs (dopamine antagonists) reduce psychotic behavior, reducing patternicities--delusions, paranoia, hallucinations--false or psychotic patterns. Watch the whole video… – Ilene 

Michael Shermer on Self-Deception

Courtesy of Miss Trade, Trading for the Masses

Fantastic Speech for Traders to watch especially Technical Traders. See what you want or what is real? What is real?

more about " Michael Shermer on Self-Deception", posted with vodpod 


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Science, Stocks and Superstition

Science, Stocks and Superstition

Courtesy of Tim at The Psy-Fi Blog

biasesUnreliable Science

As we’ve seen – repeatedly – people aren’t particularly good at overcoming the behavioural biases built into our nature by evolution. There’s no real reason we should be – computing the statistical probability of an above average return on the stockmarket over a twenty year period wasn’t of much value for most of human history. This was partly because twenty years was more than the average lifespan of a proto-human but largely because no one had yet got around to inventing money or stockmarkets or stocks. Or ‘years’.

If these biases are inherent and cause us to do stupid things around finance we might expect that they’ll appear in other areas as well where humanity has only recently started to apply its higher cognitive functions. So it’s unsurprising that our basic intuitions about science are about as reliable as those we have about finance. To whit: not reliable at all.

Greek Geeks

Science has been around a lot longer than modern financial theory. The Ancient Greeks developed many concepts that aren’t out of place in the modern pantheon of university science faculties – atomic theory, planetary orbits and toga parties amongst them. Unfortunately they failed to marry their scientific insights to a stable economic system and much of their knowledge was lost for the best part of a millennium. The lesson being, presumably, that disenfranchising women and relying on slave labour is a poor way of building a stable society. Global corporations take note.

GreeksDuring that lost thousand years or so the only real legacy of Greek knowledge in the Western world was a smattering of Aristotle, who was a bloody good thinker but a bit weak on stuff like planetary motion and mathematics. Somewhere along the line Aristotle’s ideas got mixed up with Christianity and resulted in the odd position of the Catholic Church defining God’s word on the basis of the scientific writings of an atheistic Greek who died before Christ was born. We can blame Thomas Aquinas for that one.

The period known as the Renaissance – the rebirth – was marked by a remarkable rediscovery of Ancient Greek thought. Some of this came from the Muslim world, where many ideas and writings had been sustained through the European Dark Ages, and some of it from the


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