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Monday
Mar182019

RS 229 - John Nerst on "Erisology, the study of disagreement"

Release date: March 18th, 2019

John Nerst

This episode features John Nerst, data scientist and blogger at everythingstudies.com, discussing a potential new field called "erisology," the study of disagreement. John and Julia discuss why Twitter makes disagreement so hard; whether there's anything to learn from postmodernism; John's "signal and corrective" model that explains why disagreement persists even when people agree on the key facts; and how the concept of "decoupling" helps explains Sam Harris and Ezra Klein's debate last year about IQ.

Links 

John’s website

John’s Twitter

"Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate" by Ullica Segerstrale

"The Signal and the Corrective"

"A Deep Dive Into the Harris-Klein Controversy"

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (8)

A lot of "disagreements" do indeed amount to mere misunderstandings over some aspects of an issue.

In order to get past any initial concerns about important core beliefs, make sure to agree with your counterparty about those beliefs, or to at least "mirror" you counterparty's beliefs by repeating them back to your counterparty so that your counterparty understands that you have understood their position. Restating your counterparty's position through agreement or mirroring will also expose and clear up many misunderstandings.

Surveys should definitely include an "I don't know / Other" choice, since otherwise the survey will generate responses that represent essentially guesses.
March 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
Appreciated the analysis of the Harris/Klein discussion of Murray. I skimmed the Vox articles and blog posts and listened to that podcast twice. I came away from the podcast with the impression that Harris won the logical argument and Klein the rhetorical argument, but that neither really engaged the other on matters of real disagreement. Your discussion of "decoupling" helped make sense of this. Please keep going on your path of analysis and exploration.
March 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarmich
The discussion about "Decoupling" kinda reminded me of the "Kill all the poor" Mitchell and Webb sketch. Not saying it proves anything, just how my head works.

I'm on the other side of the matter generally (basically because deciding what context is relevant, including no context, is not a neutral act IMO) but it was very interesting!
March 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEran
A non real dialogue about how the rich exploit the poor? I wonder how that would work with explaining away the slavery aspect of that. Or, perhaps the argument from the other side which you said also has the same sort of merit as if it's some sort of story..

Hearing that points out a lack of understanding of history, being there are indeed facts that substantiate claims about the rich keeping the poor, poor. Even today with the nepotism of the U.S. look at the demonstration of Megan McCain who is on T.V. for absolutely nothing that she accomplished. How did she end up the View and not someone else? How about Chelsea Clinton?

I gave away five years of my life just to get money for college.. Think about it.
March 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMakoa
I remember Harris and Klein talking past each other about race and IQ, Klein insisting that any claims about race and IQ must come with a disclaimer that in the past IQ was misused to justify racism; and worrying that if it's true, it'll lead to bad consequences like discrimination, committing the appeal to consequences fallacy. But Klein didn't worry that blaming all problems on white racists and teaching people to hate whites will lead to bad consequences.
March 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax
I came away from the podcast with the impression that Harris won the logical argument and Klein the rhetorical argument, skimmed the Vox articles and blog posts and listened to that podcast twice. but that neither really engaged the other on matters of real disagreement. Your discussion of "decoupling" helped make sense of this. Please keep going on your path of analysis and exploration.Appreciated the analysis of the Harris/Klein discussion of Murray.
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