Category Archives: Ya wanna be an intellectual…

A place for ideas from which history shall be made.

While we cannot dispense with metaphors in thinking about nature, there is a great risk of confusing the metaphor with the thing of real interest.  We cease to see the world as if it were like a machine and take it to be a machine.  The result is that the properties we ascribe to our object of interest and the questions we ask about it reinforce the original metaphorical image and we miss the aspects of the system that do not fit the metaphorical approximation.  As Alexander Rosenblueth and Norbert Weiner have written, ‘The price of metaphor is eternal vigilance.’

—— Richard Lewontin from The Triple Helix (Gene, Organism, and Environment) p 4


Understanding Statistics via the Media

The media lies.  They don’t necessarily intend to lie, but this is a consequence of having an agenda and of lacking scientific or philosophic rigor.  For this reason, I do have a modicum of sympathy for those shouting “fake news”.  It can be challenging to tease out the truth from the well-intentioned messages journalists pass around.

Take a look at this article discussing an important aspect of understanding statistics which you will some times see presented by the media:

How do death rates from COVID-19 differ between people who are vaccinated and those who are not?

Be cautious when receiving statistics from any media source, including that relative on social media.  Everyone’s a journalist today and so very few have the aforementioned scientific rigor.