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Links With Your Coffee - Monday


One of the primary intellectual themes of modern skepticism is that we need to understand the brain as a tool for gathering, processing, and storing information. The brain is a powerful, but extremely flawed, instrument subject to numerous cognitive biases, selective and distorted perception, and malleable memory.

Often I see people amused and entertained by demonstrations of the brain’s true nature, such as optical illusions or attentional blindness – but not everyone truly absorbs these lessons and understands their broad implication. The illusion that we perceive and store information in an objective an accurate way is compelling – but that too is just another construct of the brain.

Every time someone says, “I know what I saw” or “I have a clear memory” they are being profoundly naive. Modern neuroscience has taught us that there is practically no limit to the extent to which we can be fooled, especially by ourselves.



...and the LA Times.

It is interesting that she seems to have guessed a few accurate items. If only she had said what she was thinking, that he had rung the Liberty bell to warn the british that we would not give up our second ammendment rights.

Ah well, there's always Conservapedia - where reality bahaves!

Uh oh . . . now I'll need to fix up Conservictionary to make behave bahave!

Does anyone need more evidence that Sarah Palin is an idiot? I defy anyone to show me any proof to the contrary.

I doubt you'll read them, but the links I provided prove you are the idiot.

Have YOU read them? Esp the Herald one, since the LA Times seems to be more of the "I'm smarter than the smart people who make fun of the idiot" vibe, which is even more annoying especially when they're stretching the evidence in such a weird way to fit their argument.

From what Palin said (and reiterated on Fox News), how in the hell does it follow that the guy warned the British when being captured? As the expert in the article suspects, she got lucky. I wouldn't even say that, cause the incomprehensible mess of a sentence she made up can be interpreted by anyone who's charitable enough, to mean anything resembling anything.

You can't be serious.

From the articles on Palin, she said:

warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.

Since she's not a mumbling moron, is this one of them "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" trick grammatically correct sentences?

oops meant bumbling. Phonetics and all that.

I am pretty sure there weren't bells in the midnight ride.

"I doubt you'll read them, but the links I provided prove you are the idiot."

I may be an idiot but at least I'm not defending a fucking infant like Sarah Palin. And I never read your links. Ever.

Did I watch a different video of Palin? Because the one I saw looked like Rain Man doing some sort of stoned, stream-of-consciousness routine charged with a few tidbits from third grade history (she got a C-).

And I never read your links. Ever.

so you don't read the links but you do respond to the comments, including quoting the guy you're attacking, in italics. you ARE a fucking idiot. ps. this has nothing to do with palin or revere or, for that matter, syngas. i've been trying to give you the benifit of the doubt for years and play nice. but i do have a personal interest in american expats and their relationships to their placentas. i call you out after all these years: let's do it. you're a piece of shit that knows how to cook, i'll give you that, but no more. oh, and you have a certain sense of humor i appreciate, but it will not help you here. you do not just joke into mordor.throw down or go fuck yourself.

i also think palin is an idiot. you certainly don't have to be a genius to see it and you don't need balls to say so-you have a built-in peanut gallery of support if you do. what else you got? shithead. i bet you were a sniper, the infantry was too good for you. you're a pussy and a wanker and a bully. bring it on.-

this has been a test of the norm jenson patience/tolerance/open mindedness/involvement with his own blog system. we will return to your regularly scheduled programming shortly. probably without this comment. sorry to make you the guinea pig, leftbanker, this is just cpr on a blog that i value highly and am not interested in watching it's extended death throes.



Knock it off, will ya.

Jonathan - now, now dear,.... One need not depend on a higher power (Norm) to enforce good behavior. Even on a blog. That's what our free will is about ain't it?

re: leftbanker

IMO, Sarah isn't an idiot, just poorly educated. She is a visual sort of person tho, who was trying albeit confusedly, to create an image of herself on her bus and equate it to that other patriot Paul Revere, on his horse, riding through the country sounding the alarm (about whatever). Ms. Palin was never shy about tooting her own horn, (or was it a bell.) I'd like to know what happened to the lanterns - wasn't it s'pozed to be "one if by land two if by sea?"

I don't know how you define idiot, but....

I mean its not like the woman can't name news sources. She just can't answer quesitons when put on the spot unless she has a prepared answer. That lack of functional ability might just be a sign of stupidity. Her in ability to come up with good spin even days after making a moronic flub is only further evidence.

Well to be fair, how do you spin THAT? I mean EXPERTS!!1! have tried!

Might as well go "in for a penny..."

First of all, I didn’t know there was some sort of unwritten fairness doctrine among those leaving comments wherein we are obliged to follow links left by someone who holds views completely opposite to mine and whose opinion I don’t respect. If I wanted some right-winger’s point of view I wouldn’t visit onegoodmove, would I?

jonathan becker: I almost never understand what you are talking about (and even less this time) but if I'm not mistaken I think that you are challenging me to a duel, or a fight, or perhaps a game of ping pong. The fact that someone on the web has spun Sarah’s moronic rant into some sort of coherent historical metaphor doesn’t erase the countless idiocies she has puked out over the last few years. Meanwhile, the true thinkers of our era are living in obscurity because we are too busy debating the lowest common denominator.

For Betty Jo: Sarah Palin has repeatedly proven that she is a complete idiot AND poorly educated. I can’t believe that she is still in the news. Haven’t we had enough of her tortured syntax and “folksy” persona that seems to be based on jingoism, Jesus, NRA talking points, and a Road Warrior vision of an America free of government and democratic institutions?

omg you guys are so mature and grown-up like. i can hardly stand it. i was counting on leftebanker to bust a move and i get dr. spock. wtf is going on?

Another vote for "idiot". And a pretty opportunistic, immoral idiot at that. Also, about the worst case of Dunning-Kruger you'll probably ever see.

re: Dunning-Kruger effect

I never heard of that. Thanks for the reference.

Yes, I can see this effect in Ms Palin. She lacks no self confidence, and appears somewhat incapable of introspection, not to mention self correction.

If world affairs are somewhat incomprehensible, and yet one has no doubt about one's ability to understand them, then it must be an easy leap to presuming unseen forces at work - e.g. conspiracies ('gotcha questions'), gods and devils.

Our celebrity culture makes this situation more problematic, since a low bar for competence is rewarded by attention if accompanied with mean-spirited snark and cunning imagery manipulation. After all, how can one be wrong if people pay a lot of money to listen or watch you, and 'rich' implies smart, successful, superior in every way, no matter how one's good fortune is acquired.


I'm not sure this is an instance of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The three questions to ask here are:

(a) Does she genuinely believe that Paul Revere was warning the British or was it a slip of the tongue?

(b) Does she believe that her claim that bells were involved somehow represents a historically accurate depiction of the event, or is she willing to accept the idea that historians might have a superior account and her own is just a pseudo-historical 'folk image' of the event (based on songs or school books or what have you)?

(c) Is she attempting to offer her view on the event as some sort of authoritative account or is it just an artifact of the problem that she's forever surrounded by television cameras and never seems to know when to shut up.

It's paradigmatically Dunning-Kruger if she's convinced that her view is authoritative, actively seeking to promote it and the gross inaccuracies are the result of her account being erroneous rather than some other complicating factor such as a misspeak.

As far as I can see this is a woman who isn't particularly well informed (above the 'stuff I remember from elementary school' level) with a tendency to misspeak and a chronic inability to say 'I don't actually know much about it'. It's a problem but it's not Dunning-Kruger. I think, from Halperin and Heileman's account she got close when it came to foreign policy when she seemed to be mistaking 'the bare minimum which Randy Scheunemann has been able to teach me in a short space of time' with 'an authoritative knowledge of foreign policy which trumps e.g. that of your average policy wonk or someone who's spent time on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations'. If she went around trying to claim she was some sort of expert on Pakistan or Russia AND MEANT IT that would be an instance of the Dunning-Kruger effect (unless the effect actually names the attitude change which comes from further education, I can never remember).

P.S. - Norm, if you're interested in the wider dimensions of false belief findings you should check out the wealth of new literature that's recently been published on introspection and confabulation. Hirstein and Schnider's books stand out from the latter and Schwitzgebel has just published 'Perplexities of Consciousness' on the former. Ramachandran, in his new 'The Tell Tale Brain' also strays considerably into similar territory.


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