Sunday, December 6, 2015

on bs

I came across this article about detecting bullshit in my internet stumblings, and emailed it to Laura OLPH for her input, as, of all the people I know, she's one of the least likely to be taken in by impressed with pseudo-depth. She mentioned that she'd seen the original article, which, it turned out, was linked in the article I'd seen.

I doubt most of you are going to read all of either one, so here's some TL:DR: There is a subset of the population that is likely to find deep meaning in randomly-generated phrases that are designed to sound like they have deeper meanings.

From the article:

Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine.

It made me smile to see that the second subhead of the main article - the second subhead- was titled, "Pseudo-profound bullshit".  THIS is the kind of thing that I'm glad to see research money spent on. I didn't see a disclaimer about funding sources in the article, but I hope they got some money from the NSF.

Edit Dec 7 2015: Two of my science-y friends point out that text in the original article says, "Funding for this study was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada." Sounds legit to me.

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