We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.
Which is more probable?
Linda is a bank teller.
Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.
85% of those asked chose option 2 . However, mathematically, the probability of two events occurring together (in "conjunction") will always be less than or equal to the probability of either one occurring alone.
Thus is the brain seduced by detail. All writers know this fact. Which works best: "Dick wore a hat." or "Dick wore a green felt hat with a pheasant-feather hatband."
The laws of probability are laws, not suggestions, but often the true Law is too difficult for us humans to compute. If P != NP and the universe has no source of exponential computing power, then there are evidential updates too difficult for even a superintelligence to compute - even though the probabilities would be quite well-defined, if we could afford to calculate them.
So sometimes you don't apply probability theory. Especially if you're human, and your brain has evolved with all sorts of useful algorithms for uncertain reasoning, that don't involve verbal probability assignments.
Those algorithms are "gut feelings." Often wrong, often accurate. There is one thing that I know for certain: the more time I have to think about how to hit a tennis ball, the more likely I am to blow the shot. He also says:
In general a rationalist tries to make their minds function at the best achievable power output; sometimes this involves talking about verbal probabilities, and sometimes it does not, but always the laws of probability theory govern.
If all you have is a gut feeling of uncertainty, then you should probably stick with those algorithms that make use of gut feelings of uncertainty, because your built-in algorithms may do better than your clumsy attempts to put things into words.
Probability in technical language (when it is used correctly even there, which is rare) is not probability in ordinary language.
Here, in ordinary language, it means which is the most likely story. The bank teller choice is barely a story at all; but the feminist detail added pulls in all sorts of confirming details that are great in number compared to the length of the detail that brings them in, and so is the correct story, most likely.
To say that the first is better by inclusion is against ordinary language. That would imply that you're willing to give up the feminist detail but keep the bank teller detail, which is not so. You'd give up the bank teller detail first.
A technical analysis is not arguing under the same rules or the same interests, and simply misses the entire point.
Technical langauge is not more precise than ordinary language. It simply gives precision a different shape.
Figure out first what the ordinary language is in fact doing, and then see if the technical language is anywhere near it in the first place.