Saturday, July 09, 2005

the psychology of design as explanation

Since I posted the link to his blog, Baron just wrote about Cardinal Schönborn's anti-evolution Op-Ed piece. I agree absolutely that people should learn about the psychology of judgment and probability for these sorts of questions, where it's really hard to understand that random processes can generate things that seem not so random.

I'm still thinking about how the psychology of judgment plays in to the analysis below. I have a feeling that people's intuitions are usually too hospitable for explanations based on intention. E.g.: People are poor, therefore someone is trying to make them poor. Organizations (corportations, governments) do things, therefore someone (say, at the top) ordered them to do these things. Natural disasters happen, therefore someone is wishing them upon us. Etc., etc. I'm still not sure how a bayesian dissection of whether "looks intentful" implies "is intentful" shows us whether such an "intent-seeking" bias (hey, I have to call it something) is correct or erroneous. Hopefully more to come.

Also: there was an older posting by Tabarrok on MR arguing that theism makes ID quite reasonable, and atheism makes evolution quite reasonable. This would be the effect of the dominance of the P(H) prior, I believe.

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