Re: [asa] philological notes on randomness (was: Re: What my tiny little brain was thinking...)

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Sun Nov 15 2009 - 15:21:49 EST

On Nov 15, 2009, at 11:53 AM, Cameron Wybrow wrote:

> By the way, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
> You accuse me of claiming (which I don't) to know more biology than
> the biologists, more science than the climatologists, etc., when in
> fact your posts give the impression that you believe yourself to be
> an expert in both fields, since you claim to be able to referee
> between Ph.D.s in climatology who disagree about AGW, and between
> Ph.D.s in the life sciences who disagree about design in nature.
> How could you referee differences between the experts if you were
> not yourself a peer of the experts? It's odd; I have friends with
> degrees in electrical engineering (your field, if I understand
> correctly from your posts), and they do not have the amazing ability
> to make final judgments in other scientific fields that you seem to
> have. They reserve their "air of finality" for questions belonging
> to electrical engineering.

You miss my point. Both of us as non-experts still can have sufficient
intellectual ability to understand what the experts are saying. Still,
we won't be at the same level as the experts. What I do here is in
full view of the experts. If I don't get it they can and will correct
me. Recall your complaint of me of getting overly technical on
particle physics. My response was that George Murphy was on that
thread. I knew that when I said things with an expert present I needed
to be extra careful to make sure that I was not being inaccurate. The
"air of finality" I have is only reserved when there is consensus
amongst the experts. (In this case all the English translations saying
the same thing.) If there wasn't then I just stay out of the way and
that marks the fundamental difference between us. I have gotten
sufficient feedback over the years that I am confident I can
understand things outside my field, but I don't have the ability to do
original research without considerably more time, effort, and
education. If only an extreme minority is espousing a view the
combination being outside of our collective experience should give us
great pause of our correctness. Also note concerning the "refereeing"
part, the experts I rely upon don't say "I'm right. Trust me." They
provide the rationale why a particular extreme minority view is
incorrect. Again, I have the ability even in areas outside my
expertise to follow their arguments. I rarely ever have original
arguments. In fact when I do I'll make sure I mark it as such so that
they can be taken with the requisite "grain of salt". I will mark the
same if I espouse an extreme minority viewpoint but I doubt that would
ever happen because the combo of being outside my expertise and true
controversy amongst the experts puts enough self-doubt in me to post
something. This is especially so here. There are enough true experts
here that my bloviating would not add any value.

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Sun Nov 15 15:22:32 2009

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