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iNow
Post  Post subject: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:19 pm
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Interesting article exploring how to approach people who know little about economics.

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com ... world.html
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How should economists engage with a man who knows nothing about economics? Matthew Bishop says we should treat him as a “worthy interlocutor in a way that values his opinion”. I’d caveat this.

We should make two distinctions here. One is between the man who genuinely wants to learn more, and the one who is loudly spouting nonsense for political reasons.

The former deserves all our help. Geoff Riley and Diane Coyle offer useful suggestions for him, but I fear that there aren’t ways of supporting such people; the media generally fails atrociously.

The latter, however, deserves our derision and contempt – of the sort that Douglas Carswell got when he claimed that the sun rather than the moon causes tides*. Such people are polluting public debate, and generally committing several cognitive biases as well: overconfidence; the halo effect (the belief that a policy that’s good in one aspect must be good in others); motivated reasoning; and the Dunning-Kruger effect too.


The brief article goes on to share a few analogies and discusses the broader impact this same issue of post-factualism has on politics and science.

Quote:
Advocates of free speech such as John Stuart Mill believed that “wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument”. In a post-truth world of asymmetric Bayesianism where people have had enough of experts such confidence is unwarranted. Liberals and experts have so far failed to come to terms with this.


What do you think? Is this a real problem? Is there a solution? Is this all smoke, but no fire... too chicken-little?

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GiantEvil
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 3:35 pm
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First, I would submit that economics and politics are inseparable, like electricity and magnetism. Consider the post WW1 Weimar Republic and value of the Reichsmark.
Second, does economics have an empirically predictive model? Is it even a science yet?
Third, is "post-factualism actually a valid observation? After a quick Google, I've determined that asymmetric Bayesianism can be summarized as "bias". That's been around as long as humans.
Fourth, how does one tell an expert or subject scholar from a damned pundit?

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:17 pm
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When every statistic being flaunted by the media contradicts what you know to be true through direct experience, then to demand that citizens defer to those statistics on the basis of authority is, surely, unscientific?

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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:44 pm

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iNow wrote:
Interesting article exploring how to approach people who know little about economics.



?

I have been looking for something that tells us how to approach economists who know little about people.
This snippet is quite interesting if you become bored.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comm ... ng-on.html


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:54 pm
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forgive me my ignorance, but WHAT is a post-truth world ?

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:11 pm
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I think it's supposed to mean that average Joe citizen no longer cares for the opinion of experts or their statistics.

I'm not surprised and I don't blame them.

The figures we are fed by the government and mainstream media are on another planet from the reality I observe through direct experience.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:40 pm
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or in Homer Simpson's words : truth ? you can't handle the truth !

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:52 pm
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Replace the word "economics" in the OP with the word "science"...
(Likewise read Rory's post #3 in the same context and consider how much (little) sense that argument makes).
The second quote in the OP describes the situation perfectly: there are too many people who put their own (uninformed mis-)interpretations above the explanations of the ones who specialise in the topic.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:12 am
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GiantEvil wrote:
First, I would submit that economics and politics are inseparable, like electricity and magnetism. Consider the post WW1 Weimar Republic and value of the Reichsmark.

This is a really interesting comment, and I tend to agree with you.

GiantEvil wrote:
Second, does economics have an empirically predictive model? Is it even a science yet?

I commented on this almost 5 years ago here: topic410.html#p4577

It's not a long post and is worth the read, but here is the key take-away:
iNow 5 years ago wrote:
Both men (Newton and Smith) thought that with enough information we could predict markets like we predict the orbits of planets or falling apples, as have countless others who devote their lives to this field.

I personally think they're absolutely correct, it's just that we don't have enough information regarding human decisions... Nor frankly do most humans have enough information about their own decisions that they themselves are making.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:13 am
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Rory wrote:
then to demand that citizens defer to those statistics on the basis of authority is, surely, unscientific?

(emphasis mine)

Strawman, yeah? Just wonder whether it was on purpose or unintentional.

You do know, right, that there are literally thousands of people with vested interests trying to prove those statistics wrong. They are independent of the government, they profit if the government is wrong, and yet even they cannot show flaws or conspiracy or any of the other stuff you so easily accuse the government of doing to hoodwink the people. Do you know why?? It's because the numbers are accurate and double, triple, quadruple checked by really amazingly smart educated people of different backgrounds and political worldviews and objectives before they're published.

You're not asked to accept them on the basis of authority (erm... excuse me... I meant, nobody DEMANDS that you accept them "on the basis of authority"). If you don't understand how they're pulled together, then educate yourself, don't cast shade with no supporting evidence and accuse "the man" of conspiracy.

If the numbers are false, prove it, or stop suggesting the books are cooked like some internet crank or crackpot.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:15 am
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Dywyddyr wrote:
The second quote in the OP describes the situation perfectly: there are too many people who put their own (uninformed mis-)interpretations above the explanations of the ones who specialise in the topic.

Agreed. It's happened for a long time, too.

Asimov nailed it, IMO, with this:

Image

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:13 pm
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The only way an ordinary citizen could prove categorically that the government statistics are inaccurate is to carry out the national data gathering and analysis for themselves.

I'm not saying the government 100% definitely is fabricating statistics - but those statistics do not correlate with my direct experience or those of people I talk to.

Discontent is rife but the economy is (according to the government) recovered and growing. Go figure.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:50 pm
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see image with quote from Asimov above

more specifically, the statistics DON'T say "everything is perfect for all people" so your comment is frankly irrelevant. your personal experience may not align with the median trend and you may know lots of people in the same boat... there are always standard deviations from the mean and also outliers... this does nothing to negate the evidence about the overall trend at a broader level, which is where your comments continue to focus

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:11 pm
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As per Inow's above comment, the statistics are subject to having outliers that are both above and below the mean. So some areas may be doing very well while others are doing poorly. So at a broad scale the whole country can be doing well, while some areas are still struggling.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:39 pm
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If the economy were fine and citizens prosperous then I don't think we, as a nation, would have voted to leave the EU.

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:48 pm
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iNow wrote:
see image with quote from Asimov above

more specifically, the statistics DON'T say "everything is perfect for all people" so your comment is frankly irrelevant. your personal experience may not align with the median trend and you may know lots of people in the same boat... there are always standard deviations from the mean and also outliers... this does nothing to negate the evidence about the overall trend at a broader level, which is where your comments continue to focus

And this is why we need a "like" button.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:45 pm
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Rory wrote:
If the economy were fine and citizens prosperous then I don't think we, as a nation, would have voted to leave the EU.

You're welcome to think whatever you want, but this has nothing to do with the core point I made and to which you responded.

If you didn't comprehend my point, let me know and I'll try to state it another way, but please don't insert tangential red herrings and nonsequiturs.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:04 am
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It is excrutiatingly relevant to your core point: how can 52% of a nation be "outliers"?

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:44 am
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Rory wrote:
It is excrutiatingly relevant to your core point: how can 52% of a nation be "outliers"?

Don't talk rubbish.
No one claimed that 52% of a nation are outliers.


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:17 am
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A vote to leave the EU is a mark of economic discontent.

iNow claimed those not experiencing the economic recovery in tandem with median values of government statistics are outliers.

52% of Britons voted to leave the EU.

Square that one?

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:54 am
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the economy may have been a factor for some, but that's not to say that all 52% who voted to leave did so for economic reasons
for some it's the high-handedness of people like Junker who made them decide that they didn't want to be part of a club where clowns like him could lord it over everybody else

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:09 pm
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Rory wrote:
iNow claimed those not experiencing the economic recovery in tandem with median values of government statistics are outliers.
52% of Britons voted to leave the EU.

52% of the final votes were for leaving.
37% of those who actually registered to vote were in favour of leaving .(I.e. not everyone who registered to do so bothered to vote).
And the actual figure was <27% of the UK's population.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Ki ... 016#Result

Quote:
A vote to leave the EU is a mark of economic discontent.

Apart from the outright racists or simply those who were concerned about immigration. And the "I want the UK to be free of outside influence". And...

In other words it was:
NOT 52% of a nation, and
NOT established that the ONLY (or over-riding) reason for that vote was economically motivated.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:57 pm
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On top of the valid replies above, I'll also add that a person can easily feel economically discontent on a personal level even when themselves benefiting from broader trends of economic improvement.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:06 pm
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Those who registered and intended to vote Remain - but didn't - clearly lacked zeal. It's like saying "I was going to meet you at the altar but I got outside the church and decided to follow a fluttering leaf instead."

All we can go on is those who voted. 52% of those who voted chose change.

Perhaps they wanted political change in the sense of national sovereignty. Why would they want that? So that we can, as a nation, have greater control over decisions pertaining to (among other things) the economy.

The rise of anti-immigration attitudes is also a reflection of citizens' fears about "foreigners taking natives' jobs". Regardless of the inaccuracy or accuracy of that statement - it stands as a marker of the economic insecurity experienced by average Joe citizens.

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:47 pm
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Rory wrote:
All we can go on is those who voted. 52% of those who voted chose change.

Which still wasn't 52% of a nation - which was your claim.

Quote:
Perhaps they wanted political change in the sense of national sovereignty. Why would they want that? So that we can, as a nation, have greater control over decisions pertaining to (among other things) the economy.

Oh look - assumptions again.
Please provide evidence that the economy was the sole - or even primary - consideration for ALL of these voters (which is, again, essentially what you've claimed).

Quote:
The rise of anti-immigration attitudes is also a reflection of citizens' fears about "foreigners taking natives' jobs".

Entirely? Partially?

Quote:
Regardless of the inaccuracy or accuracy of that statement - it stands as a marker of the economic insecurity experienced by average Joe citizens.

If the statement is inaccurate then - by definition - it's not a marker at all.

I must admit though that your posts are a pretty good exemplar of the attitude/ condition/ zeitgeist/ weltanschauung under discussion.
You've made your mind up and you're not letting facts or reason intrude. :roll:


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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:38 pm
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Rory wrote:
The rise of anti-immigration attitudes is also a reflection of citizens' fears about "foreigners taking natives' jobs". Regardless of the inaccuracy or accuracy of that statement - it stands as a marker of the economic insecurity experienced by average Joe citizens.


Excuse me but I'm going to call bullshit on that. There are plenty of people that are anti-immigration because they fear the culture and religion of the immigrants. "Those people have that scary religion with all the suicide bombers, we don't want them in our country." That mentality is extremely big in the Trump supporters here, and was big with a large portion of the Brexit supporters. A big factor in this prejudice is age related. And when you break down the numbers, of the people that voted 75% of the ones aged 18-24 voted to remain, while 61% of the the people aged 65+ voted leave. Then when you factor that the 65+ demographic is one of the largest voting groups, it becomes clear that this wasn't passed by young people wanting to improve their economic positions but by prejudiced retirees that don't want Islam or brown people in their country. http://www.politico.eu/article/graphics-how-the-uk-voted-eu-referendum-brexit-demographics-age-education-party-london-final-results/

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:32 pm
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Pensioners also need the economy to be in good shape! (obvious but it feels like I need to reiterate that)

For the security and real terms value of their pension payments

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:02 am
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a large portion of pensioners also read the Daily Mail, which was probably more activist for the Leave campaign than most other papers, hence they would be more likely to be influenced by an overestimate of the threat of migration and the love of Little England nostalgia

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Curiosity
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 1:10 am

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I think a logical reason for the disconnect between evidence provided by economists and the average joe, is somewhat due to the availability bias.
Humans do not judge the likelihood of something by how many examples they can think of, but how easily those examples come to mind.
If it's easier for them to remember their neighbour complaining about losing their jobs to migrants or whatever, than recalling
the dull statistics and statements by economists, they're going to judge the situation by the easily remembered anecdotes.

It's better to ask these people for 10 reasons the economy is not doing well, than asking for 5. Conversely, it's better to ask them to come up with 5 reasons the economy IS doing well than 10.
The ease with which examples come to mind is used to judge the situation. So, if you actually were to ask someone to list 20 good things about themselves, they'd find it difficult
past the first 5-10 and therefore conclude they didn't have many good qualities :P


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:21 am
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take for instance a place like Boston, Lincolnshire, where there's been a large influx of Polish people, mostly for filling the seasonal agricultural jobs in the area
Boston had one of the largest proportion of voters for the Leave camp (the Poles themselves obviously we're not allowed to vote in the referendum), and the main reason for this was not so much that "they take our jobs" (as a rule British look down on the type of arduous picking fruit jobs in the field), but because locals felt it was no longer "their" town

maybe you could spin an economic angle on this, but in the end the problem is sociological, a bit like when the area you've moved into 20 years ago has changed beyond recognition because over the years different kinds of people have moved in

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:21 pm
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So, why does nationalism tend to spring up during times of historically poor economic performance?

E.g. during 1930s Great Depression?

Why does nationalist sentiment calm down once the economy has recovered?

You'd think that, if it was about traditional national identity, then nationalism would remain strong even after the economic recovery?

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Dywyddyr
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:24 pm
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"...in times of economic crisis and social instability, ethno-nationalistic sentiments offer groups an opportunity to put the blame on others outside their own community".
http://www.gmu.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol2_2/pamir.htm

It's ignorant scapegoatism.


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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:15 pm

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Falconer360 wrote:
Rory wrote:
The rise of anti-immigration attitudes is also a reflection of citizens' fears about "foreigners taking natives' jobs". Regardless of the inaccuracy or accuracy of that statement - it stands as a marker of the economic insecurity experienced by average Joe citizens.


Excuse me but I'm going to call bullshit on that. There are plenty of people that are anti-immigration because they fear the culture and religion of the immigrants. "Those people have that scary religion with all the suicide bombers, we don't want them in our country." That mentality is extremely big in the Trump supporters here, and was big with a large portion of the Brexit supporters. A big factor in this prejudice is age related. And when you break down the numbers, of the people that voted 75% of the ones aged 18-24 voted to remain, while 61% of the the people aged 65+ voted leave. Then when you factor that the 65+ demographic is one of the largest voting groups, it becomes clear that this wasn't passed by young people wanting to improve their economic positions but by prejudiced retirees that don't want Islam or brown people in their country. http://www.politico.eu/article/graphics-how-the-uk-voted-eu-referendum-brexit-demographics-age-education-party-london-final-results/

Excuse me but I'm going to call bullshit on that. How dare you accuse the elderly of GB as prejudiced retirees. You are talking about my parents, my grandparents, how dare you slander these people. They have a right to vote anyway they want, when they are given a vote, that is it .


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:44 pm
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wireless wrote:
How dare you accuse the elderly of GB as prejudiced retirees. You are talking about my parents, my grandparents, how dare you slander these people.


why shouldn't I dare to call them prejudiced retirees ? since I belong in that bracket, I can state from firsthand experience that old people are more often than not stuck in their ways, ways that were formed when they were young and gradually solidified, and may no longer fit the present day society

the fact that they may be parents or grandparents is immaterial in that respect, it doesn't protect them being called prejudiced if that's the shoe that fits

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:51 pm
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Yeah, equally... I'm unclear how age and/or being in retirement has any bearing whatsoever on acknowledging a group often has largely prejudiced views, especially relative to those younger.

I posted this image in our Brexit thread when it was all going down. Pretty telling, really:

Image

topic2019.html

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Northerner
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:59 am

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Can I say something about economics?
Economics can be called a social science, but that does not mean it can be put on the same level as the "hard" sciences such as physics.
What I find annoying is that some appear to blame economists for this or even attack the subject itself because its unavoidable limitations do not always allow its practitioners to make accurate predictions.
I doubt whether economics will ever be placed alongside subjects such as physics!
But there are good reasons for this-the world of economics is much more "messy" and people do not behave like atoms.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:33 am
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That could be interesting to explore further, but seems off-topic here. If this tangent continues, I'm happy to split into a new thread.

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"[Time] is one of those concepts that is profoundly resistant to a simple definition." ~C. Sagan


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Northerner
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:26 am

Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:50 am
Posts: 31

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iNow wrote:
That could be interesting to explore further, but seems off-topic here. If this tangent continues, I'm happy to split into a new thread.

It is off-topic!
I misread some of the early posts and assumed the thread was mainly about economics as a science.


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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:46 pm

Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:55 am
Posts: 283

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marnixR wrote:
wireless wrote:
How dare you accuse the elderly of GB as prejudiced retirees. You are talking about my parents, my grandparents, how dare you slander these people.


why shouldn't I dare to call them prejudiced retirees ? since I belong in that bracket, I can state from firsthand experience that old people are more often than not stuck in their ways, ways that were formed when they were young and gradually solidified, and may no longer fit the present day society

the fact that they may be parents or grandparents is immaterial in that respect, it doesn't protect them being called prejudiced if that's the shoe that fits

Well, with that world view, euthanasia comes to mind. :shock:


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:52 am
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:35 pm
Posts: 4799
Location: Cardiff, Wales

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wireless wrote:
Well, with that world view, euthanasia comes to mind. :shock:


rather a giant leap from calling someone prejudiced and set in their ways, don't you think ?
logically speaking, the fact that someone is a parent or grandparent has nothing to do with respect or otherwise for prejudiced views

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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:32 pm

Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:55 am
Posts: 283

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marnixR wrote:
wireless wrote:
Well, with that world view, euthanasia comes to mind. :shock:


rather a giant leap from calling someone prejudiced and set in their ways, don't you think ?
logically speaking, the fact that someone is a parent or grandparent has nothing to do with respect or otherwise for prejudiced views

Nowadays prejudiced views can mean a whole lot of things
" Prejudice is prejudgement or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of their gender, beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, beauty, occupation, education, criminality or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prejudice


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wireless
Post  Post subject: Re: Persuasion in a Post-Truth World  |  Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:34 pm

Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:55 am
Posts: 283

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My quote did not come out as intended, but what the hell.


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