Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 48924
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2017/09/21 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
9/21    

2008/1/10-12 [Science] UID:48924 Activity:very high
1/10    Finally reading Freakonomics: Not terribly impressed. Your thoughts?
        \_ It's popular science writing.  What did you expect?  Hav you read
           any of the original papers that Levitt wrote or referenced?
           -dans
           \_ No, I haven't. Given the way people were talking about it, I
              somehow expect revelations. Instead I got loud, unnecessary
              admonitions about not leaping to conclusions, often followed by
              the writer's leapt-to conclusions.
              \_ Keep in mind, many people, even well educated ones don't
                 grok the simple idea that correlation does not imply
                 causation.  Freakonomics explication of this is remarkably
                 good.  Have you read many other pop-sci books?  Were
                 there any that you did like? -dans
                 \_ Your first statement is key here and most of why I'm
                    still boggling. You're right, but that scares the hell
                    out of me. From here to "weighs the same as a duck"
                    is not a large leap.
                    \_ Causation is harder than it looks.  For example, is the
                       converse of above true (e.g., does lack of correlation
                       imply lack of causation?)  Or how about this: "when
                       DOES correlation imply causation?" -- ilyas
                       \_ Statistics attempts to answer these questions. I
                          took an econometrics class at Cal which
                          attempted to answer similar questions w.r.t.
                          economic data. That's probably more useful than
                          Freakonomics.
                          \_ So are you suggesting 'people on the street'
                             should read statistics literature in order to
                             gain an understanding of causality issues?
                             What DO you suggest they read? -- ilyas
                             \_ I suggest they go home and have a beer and
                                not worry themselves about it. Otherwise,
                                go take a stats class.
                                \_ Despite you dismissing the entire genre of
                                   popular science books in a single stroke, I
                                   am glad the scientific establishment
                                   continues to produce them, and the general
                                   public continues to read them.  Maybe you
                                   should have a beer, and stop commenting on
                                   things you don't understand. -- ilyas
                                   \_ I didn't dismiss the entire genre. I
                                      just said that if someone really
                                      wants to learn then they take a
                                      class. Otherwise, it's not clear
                                      what they might be getting. Some
                                      popular science books are great and
                                      some are garbage. If you don't care
                                      then it doesn't matter, I guess.
                       \_ I am going to assume that you are not asking me
                          to recount the scientific method here.
        \_ I enjoyed it.
        \_ Some topics were surprising to me, but over all I now use it as
           tool for explaning causation and correlation to others who are
           not as experienced with science as I.  Freakonomics is great
           a great popular science.  As with all popular science, there is
           cost involved when explaining the complex to the dull minded.
2017/09/21 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
9/21    

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