One way hash arguments

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Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 01:24 pm
Quote:
Most modern cryptographic systems in wide use are based on a certain mathematical asymmetry: You can multiply a couple of large prime numbers much (much, much, much, much) more quickly than you can factor the product back into primes. A one-way hash is a kind of "fingerprint" for messages based on the same mathematical idea: It's really easy to run the algorithm in one direction, but much harder and more time consuming to undo. Certain bad arguments work the same way-skim online debates between biologists and earnest ID afficionados armed with talking points if you want a few examples: The talking point on one side is just complex enough that it's both intelligible-even somewhat intuitive-to the layman and sounds as though it might qualify as some kind of insight. (If it seems too obvious, perhaps paradoxically, we'll tend to assume everyone on the other side thought of it themselves and had some good reason to reject it.) The rebuttal, by contrast, may require explaining a whole series of preliminary concepts before it's really possible to explain why the talking point is wrong. So the setup is "snappy, intuitively appealing argument without obvious problems" vs. "rebuttal I probably don't have time to read, let alone analyze closely."

If we don't sometimes defer to the expert consensus, we'll systematically tend to go wrong in the face of one-way-hash arguments, at least outside our own necessarily limited domains of knowledge. Indeed, in such cases, trying to evaluate the arguments on their merits will tend to lead to an erroneous conclusion more often than simply trying to gauge the credibility of the various disputants. The problem, of course, is gauging your own competence level well enough to know when to assess arguments and when to assess arguers. Thanks to the perverse phenomenon psychologists have dubbed the Dunning-Kruger effect, those who are least competent tend to have the most wildly inflated estimates of their own knowledge and competence. They don't know enough to know that they don't know, as it were.


I wish more people realized that being a good philosopher or a good scientist is not about having witty comebacks or being able to answer difficult questions without having to think long and hard about them.
 
blowfly
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 06:33 pm
@Satan phil,
Satan;67740 wrote:
I wish more people realized that being a good philosopher or a good scientist is not about having witty comebacks or being able to answer difficult questions without having to think long and hard about them.


Great analogy. Creationist arguments are a classic example of this IMO, along with some conspiracy theories.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 01:58 am
@blowfly,
I highly doubt that people who present these arguments really think of themselves as philosophers. Speaking as a deeply religious person I have never bought into these types of arguments as credible. I am fully aware of the empirical flaws in my belief structure, however I also understand the logic inherent in the act of believing. I think these arguments although rhetorically skillful are a copout on the part of the so called believer trying to use an empirical philosophy for a non-empirical experiential system. If a person has to try to play on another person's turf just to make themselves feel better about what they believe maybe they don't believe as hard as they think they do. How do you spell O V E R C O M P E N S A T I O N?
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 04:49 am
@Satan phil,
Another fact is that an awful lot of pundits for a subject like evolution or global warming don't understand the nuts or bolts of it themselves.

The problem inherant in the debates involving creationists is that one side present an easy to understand argument that is open to imaginative interpretation and which pretty much everybody in western culture is familiarised with as a child.

The other present an easy to understand arguement which has incredibly complex ramifications and cannot utilise imaginitive interpretation without running a risk of conflicting with future findings or other theories and which people tend not to learn about unless they show an interest in biology.

This why the whole "teach the controversy" argument is so insidious, because it's not like the creationist viewpoint is the one people have a hard time grasping.

But the only way pundits can make the job easier is to become experts - because every time a pundit for evolution gets it wrong, he provides ammunition to the pundits for creationism who have the much easier job.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:00 am
@Dave Allen,
It appears a rather elitist attitude to discourage those who may have a valued point from expressing it because they have not studied the subject in depth.How many here have such a varied and in depth education in all the subjects they have debated.You could say when the Ufologist makes an appearance you have to agree with him because he has studied his subject.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:08 am
@Satan phil,
I didn't say they shouldn't have an opinion, I said "if they want to make their job easier they should get to know their subject."

Which I think is pretty obvious really. I think people who are ignorant of a topic should be advised to shut up until they learn something, but I'm not for banning them from speaking. However, on a few occasions I have seen someone state their fondness for something like evolution, and then go on to have their ass handed to them by a creationist with pretty weak arguments, and I've just thought "if only you'd actually learned a bit about what you purport to support".

But it's no big deal really, and I have made the same mistake plenty of times. For example I support European Union despite having no real expertise about politics or economics - mainly because the sort of people who ally themselves with the position I tend to hold on other matters support the EU. So it's kind of alliance through association I suppose.

I wonder why the UK equivalent of "ass" is censored?
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 05:25 am
@Dave Allen,
What donkey..its not censored..**** might be..o yes it is..
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 08:23 am
@Satan phil,
Heidegger was found of pointing out that in a time in which genuine thinking is called for there is a decided lack of it. Everyone blogs or tweets all sorts of babble, but few readers are able to separate the wheat from the chaf, and like cows chewing their cud adopt whatever opinion is fashionable at the time until new and greener pastures are found. "Jackasses prefer straw to gold" writes a Presocratic.

We see, even here in THIS forum, pleas for the expression of opinions or "ideas" or "beliefs" or whatever it is called (all of which have a "right" to be heard, all of which we are told have equal validity) without the requirement of argumentation or any sort of foundational backing except some lyric to a popular song.

With all the knowledge of the world lilterally at one's fingertips, it seems more and more evident that people are without any criteria that enables them to judge truth from its counterfeit, careful thinking from propaganda, fact from fiction.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2009 06:12 am
@xris,
xris;67950 wrote:
It appears a rather elitist attitude to discourage those who may have a valued point from expressing it because they have not studied the subject in depth.How many here have such a varied and in depth education in all the subjects they have debated.You could say when the Ufologist makes an appearance you have to agree with him because he has studied his subject.


Why would such a point be "valued" if the person knows nothing about the subject?
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2009 06:21 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;69391 wrote:
Why would such a point be "valued" if the person knows nothing about the subject?
Having a valued view is different to having an in depth education on a subject.A lay person could have just as valued a view on chrisianity as a catholic priest.
 
 

 
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