Africa is Doomed
Lome Togo West Africa
Saturday, June 2, 2007
I would think, many people would say yes, or agree.
I am learning to how to love listen to Volunteers in Africa, as they explain their experiences and their projects. I now see there is an epidemic in Africa of “Confirmation Bias.” The volunteers, ONG, NGO, and other project workers, the well intended ones tell me stories, and I try to be kind, yet I am thinking, where in the world did they come up with that one, and I think, they read about West Africa before they came, now they have found what they read.
In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions and avoid information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs. It is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference, or as a form of selection bias toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study or disconfirmation of an alternative hypothesis.
Confirmation bias is an area of interest in the teaching of critical thinking as the skill is misused when rigorous critical scrutiny is applied to evidence supporting a preconceived idea but not to evidence challenging the same preconception.
Decision-making and behavioral biases
Many of these biases are studied for how they affect belief formation and business decisions and scientific research.
Bandwagon effect — the tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. Related to groupthink, herd behaviour, and manias.
Bias blind spot — the tendency not to compensate for one's own cognitive biases.
Choice-supportive bias — the tendency to remember one's choices as better than they actually were.
Confirmation bias — the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions.
Congruence bias — the tendency to test hypotheses exclusively through direct testing, in contrast to tests of possible alternative hypotheses.
Contrast effect — the enhancement or diminishment of a weight or other measurement when compared with recently observed contrasting object.
Déformation professionnelle — the tendency to look at things according to the conventions of one's own profession, forgetting any broader point of view.
Endowment effect — "the fact that people often demand much more to give up an object than they would be willing to pay to acquire it".
Focusing effect — prediction bias occurring when people place too much importance on one aspect of an event; causes error in accurately predicting the utility of a future outcome.
Hyperbolic discounting — the tendency for people to have a stronger preference for more immediate payoffs relative to later payoffs, the closer to the present both payoffs are.
Illusion of control — the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they clearly cannot.
Impact bias — the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of the impact of future feeling states.
Information bias — the tendency to seek information even when it cannot affect action.
Loss aversion — "the disutility of giving up an object is greater than the utility associated with acquiring it". (see also sunk cost effects and Endowment effect).
Neglect of probability — the tendency to completely disregard probability when making a decision under uncertainty.
Mere exposure effect — the tendency for people to express undue liking for things merely because they are familiar with them.
Omission bias — The tendency to judge harmful actions as worse, or less moral, than equally harmful omissions (inactions).
Outcome bias — the tendency to judge a decision by its eventual outcome instead of based on the quality of the decision at the time it was made.
Planning fallacy — the tendency to underestimate task-completion times.
Post-purchase rationalization — the tendency to persuade oneself through rational argument that a purchase was a good value.
Pseudocertainty effect — the tendency to make risk-averse choices if the expected outcome is positive, but make risk-seeking choices to avoid negative outcomes.
Reactance - the urge to do the opposite of what someone wants you to do out of a need to reassert a perceived attempt to constrain your freedom of choice.
Selective perception — the tendency for expectations to affect perception.
Status quo bias — the tendency for people to like things to stay relatively the same (see also Loss aversion and Endowment effect).
Von Restorff effect — the tendency for an item that "stands out like a sore thumb" to be more likely to be remembered than other items.
Zero-risk bias — preference for reducing a small risk to zero over a greater reduction in a larger risk.
NOTE: Africa is not doomed, it is actually in great shape.
Africa is Doomed
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, June 10, 2007
"I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity."
- Bill Watterson, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat page 62
Wikipedia.org has become my conscious, my mentor, and what keeps me from straying from the truth, it has become my Philosophy, it is writing the rules of logic of modern man.
Philosophy as told to me is a clear and sustained effort to think clearly.
(I was a Philosophy Major in University and still to this day feel weak when someone asks, what is that?)
The new age:
To chunk down, extract, derives, argue, create rules, arbitrated the process of reasoning and logic, and requires critical reasoning. Congratulations, Wikipedia.org the string logic being used, the threads leading to the truth are a clear and sustained effort to think clearly.
A weasel word is a word that is intended to, or has the effect of, softening the force of a potentially loaded or otherwise controversial statement. This phrase appears in Stewart Chaplin's short story Stained Glass Political Platform published in 1900 in The Century Magazine according to The Macmillan Dictionary of Contemporary Phrase and Fable : "Why, weasel words are words that suck the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks the egg and leaves the shell." Thus, weasel words suck the meaning out of a statement while seeming to keep the idea intact, and are particularly associated with political pronouncements. Weasel words are used euphemistically. The term invokes the image of a weasel being sneaky and well able to wiggle out of a tight spot. Weasel words work, ad nauseum, as in commercial lingo to glide over an uncomfortable fact (therefore "headcount reduction"" replaces "firing staff")], or to create a sense of grandeur and inflated importance (and so "transitory staffing solution provider" substitutes for "temp agency"). Too many more examples of the widespread and indiscriminate usages of corporate jargon, inflicted scatter-shot on the unwary consumer, could be easily provided. Generally, weasel terms are statements that are misleading because they lack the normal substantiations of their truthfulness, as well as the background information against which these statements are made. Weasel terms are the equivalent of spin in the political sphere in British English.
Carl Wrighter identified weasel words in his book I Can Sell You Anything (1972). Earlier in his Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (1956), U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt described astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek's report on the death of Air Force Pilot Thomas Mantell in pursuit of a UFO as "a masterpiece in the art of 'weasel wording'."
Weasel words are almost always intended to deceive or draw attention from something the speaker doesn't want emphasized, rather than being the inadvertent result of the speaker's or writer's poor but honest attempt at description.
Australian author Don Watson has collected two volumes (Death Sentence and Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words) documenting the increasing use of weasel words in government and corporate language. He maintains a website  encouraging people to identify and nominate examples of weasely language, which gives many examples of dissimulation through excessive verbosity. Watson was previously a speech writer for Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating.
I am often sad and confused when the force of my words misleads and guides a person on a path of absolutes. These are opinions I write, nothing more, and strive to separate by story the wheat from the chaff. However when a reader grabs a word or phrase and runs helter skelter into the world, fighting for or against, I sometimes wish I had never typed into the computer. There is little known, and what is known most certainly will be debated, and clarified by rules of logic now being set forth by organizations such as Wikipedia.org with the humility and steadfast diligence to edit and correct that which was thought to be known yesterday, so tomorrow is closer…
I am in Lome, Togo West Africa and I can see the knowledge of the world is closer... I am not so far away, I am almost home.