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BBFlint
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BBFlint is now following Dave Cohen
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Nick Rowe "But it's the other way around that matters to (most) people. We want to know about the people we mix with. Because the people we mix with aren't a representative sample of the population, information on the population isn't a reliable source for information on the people we mix with." That depends on what you're trying to measure. Anecdotes would indeed be one reasonable method for finding out about people you mix with. Of course, there are still potential problems with this. The person whose opinion you are citing may just be an outlier. So, to be accurate, you would need to be systematic about it (e.g. randomised, large enough sample to be representative etc etc). Otherwise you still cannot really draw valid conclusions from an anecdote. You say that "most people" want to know about the people they mix with; this is a very subjective statement that you did not back up with either reason or evidence. To take an obvious counter-example: policy makers vs "average man on the street". The former may be more interested in macro data (i.e. broad sections of society), the latter in micro (i.e. people you mix with). Now, whilst anecdotes may be ok for talking about people like you (see above), it isn't neccessarily going to be very useful for broader sections of society. It may not be diverse or encompass large enough groups to draw valid conclusions. Broader society may simply be too different from your friendship groups. This is especially true given the context of this discussion - the study at hand was very much at the macro rather than the micro level.
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2011 on Science, ego and power at Stumbling and Mumbling
No, her statement was much more general than that. It's as if she's dismissing the discipline of statistics as a whole. But one or two dodgy stats - sometimes just badly reported - doesn't negate their value. Chris: Another point you could make about anecdotes is that people tend to mix with people who are similar to them (interests, hobbies, tastes etc). This exposes them to a very narrow section of society that isn't necessarily representative of the whole. The implication of this is that anecdotes aren't a reliable source of information.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2011 on Science, ego and power at Stumbling and Mumbling
Interesting idea, though I feel you need to flesh it out more. It's not immediately obvious how this is an example of a "capitalist asserting his power over the workers". The point you are making is fairly nuanced, and a few more examples and more fleshed out reasoning would make this post more credible to doubters.
Toggle Commented Oct 30, 2011 on GMT, ideology and power at Stumbling and Mumbling
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