Jun 192016

Came across this link in an internet conversation. I kind of wish that I had come across this logic puzzle before I’d come across the Wikipedia entry on it, because I would have been interested to know whether or not I would have successfully deduced the correct answer on my own. (Apparently, a large percentage of people fail this test.)

An example of the Wason Selection Task is:

You are shown a set of four cards placed on a table, each of which has a number on one side and a colored patch on the other side. The visible faces of the cards show 3, 8, red and brown. Which card(s) must you turn over in order to test the truth of the proposition that if a card shows an even number on one face, then its opposite face is red?

A response that identifies a card that need not be inverted, or that fails to identify a card that needs to be inverted, is incorrect. The original task dealt with numbers (even, odd) and letters (vowels, consonants).

Feb 152012

The term comes from Latin and is literally translated “the thing itself speaks”, but the sense is well conveyed in the more common translation, “the thing speaks for itself.”

via Res ipsa loquitur – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jan 152012

A cognitive bias describes a replicable pattern in perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality. They are the result of distortions in the human mind that always lead to the same pattern of poor judgment, often triggered by a particular situation. Identifying “poor judgment,” or more precisely, a “deviation in judgment,” requires a standard for comparison, i.e. “good judgment”. In scientific investigations of cognitive bias, the source of “good judgment” is that of people outside the situation hypothesized to cause the poor judgment, or, if possible, a set of independently verifiable facts. The existence of most of the particular cognitive biases listed below has been verified empirically in psychology experiments.

via List of cognitive biases – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I continue to educate myself, repetition breeds familiarity.

Jan 142012

List of fallacies – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I need to study more. I ended up in a discussion earlier today where someone proposed a syllogistic fallacy. I lacked the specific words to express my point, and since the medium of communication was a social media mechanism, I decided against pursuing the matter. (I content myself with the knowledge that it’s not my job to counter every logical fallacy in the world.)

The argument was (in essence):

[A major] pivot point [in history] is probably something unrecorded

I let this go. It’s a statistical syllogism that basically purports:

There are more unknown historical events than known historical events

Some events are significant

Therefore, unknown historical events are more likely to be significant than known historical events

When phrased this way, I think the fallacy is obvious (maybe I’m kidding myself.) They followed up by re-asserting the argument, differently (digging themselves in deeper):

All unknown historical events are more significant than known historical events.

To which I argued:

If you don’t know about the event, you cannot deduce its significance.

Which garnered the response (paraphrased):

(they concede my point) but we live in a world that is the result of a number of events we don’t know anything about

Which is the irrelevant conclusion fallacy. That because history is filled with events we don’t know anything about, my previous statement is invalid. I stopped arguing at this point and ranted in my own private circle.