How Not to Be Wrong

  1. That's how the Law of Large Number works: not by balancing our what's already happened, but by diluting what's already happened with new data, until the past is so proportionally negligible that it can safely be forgotten.
    "I've been in a thousand arguments over this topic. I've won them all, and I've convinced no one."
  2. The controversy has not yet been settled, but the most recent evidence seems to favor the sea gulls.
    In the decision-theory literature, the former kind of unknown is calledĀ risk, the latterĀ uncertainty. Risky strategies can be analyzed numerically; uncertainty strategies, Ellsberg suggested, were beyond the bounds of formal mathematical analysis, or at least beyond the bounds of the flavor of mathematical analysis beloved at RAND.
  3. Many people seem to want to cut down the forest but to keep the trees.
    Proving by day and disproving by night is not just for mathematics. I find it's a good habit to put pressure on all your beliefs, social, political, scientific, and philosophical. Believe whatever you believe by day; but at night, argue against the propositions you hold most dear. Don't cheat! To the greatest extent possible you have to think as though you believe what you don't believe. And if you can't talk yourself out of your existing beliefs, you'll know a lot more about why you believe what you believe. You'll have come a little closer to a proof.
Card Set
How Not to Be Wrong
Jordan Ellenberg