Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Near wins

The lecture on physic crime detectives’ talks about various things including cold reading and the vagueness of language tricks used to fool people into thinking they’ve been given more details than what they have. It was clear with the Noreen Reiner example that her given details weren’t all that clear (and sometimes downright inaccurate).  Think – stating things like “wooded area”, “fence” and “antenna tower” are literally descriptions you could find anywhere and you can also easily change such details to make them fit your description. For example, is the antenna 1 mile away or 5 miles away? No matter the result, you can easily argue that either was close enough to constitute a “hit” as Darren Brown put it. Furthermore, these examples made me think about certain concepts brought up in my chosen book “How we know what isn’t so”. A similar but not completely equivalent example is given of how gamblers can fall into the habit of gambling. They do this by defining their losses not as true losses but as “near wins”. By viewing the situation as if skill set, mood, or some other external factor had impacted the results – you begin to view your losses as not as statistically sound as your wins. This example may not seem similar to the crime detective one but they do share something in common – the failure to clearly define what constitutes a positive or negative result. You cannot see clearly that gambling has a 50-50 shot (assuming no cheating) if you convince yourself that your wins are valid but your losses are not. Similarly you cannot see clearly that a physic detective is a fraud if you fail to clearly define the level of detail that is required to truly constitute “substantial evidence”.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're absolutely right when you compare gambling to psychic crime detectives because without them actually collecting real evidence and then figuring out facts about a case they are taking a risk by saying she's in a "wooded area", etc. Psychic crime detectives can find the odds themselves by looking at past crimes and similar crimes in certain areas and they can try to link them to what they are sensing but most of the time they sound like general guesses.