Turns out, Spock is bad at logic
Julia Galef, Rationally Speaking podcast and founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, not surprised by Star Trek’s hyperrational Vulcan.
“Spock remains an example of logic and reason and rationality, but I think it’s almost a weak caricature of (the straw man) of reason and rationality because he continues to make all these dumb mistakes,” Galef said. says section 462 Guide to the Geek Galaxy podcast. “That’s the way to show the show, ‘Aha! Logic, reason and rationality aren’t so great.”
In the franchise, Spock makes reliable predictions based on the head of his high-altitude volcanoes. Galef was curious to see how often these predictions came out. “I watched all the Star Trek episodes and movies – all the transcripts I found – and I looked for any instance of Spock that used the words ‘probability,’ ‘probability,’ ‘chance,’ ‘definitely’. ‘Probably’ and so on.” he says. “Spock made a prediction and I cataloged whether that prediction came true or not.”
The results, which appear in Galef’s new book Scout thinking, are destructive. Spock has a tremendous career — 83% of what he considers impossible — but his level of confidence is the opposite of the correlation with reality. “The more certain that something is going to happen — he says the ship will crash or find survivors — the lower the probability, and the more confident he is with something, the more likely it is to happen,” Galef says.
Spock’s biggest weakness is that others don’t always understand how to act “logically”. He also makes no attempt to update his vision, even if his mistakes kill crew members.
“It’s not spring chicken,” Galef says. “He has interacted with non-Vulcans before, so he has supposedly had a lot of opportunities to see them, in fact, many people act the way he thinks he doesn’t (rationally). he learns, but only lifts up and says, ‘Well, the world didn’t play right.’
Listen to the full interview in episode 462 with Julia Galef Guide to the Geek Galaxy (above). And see some notable points in the discussion below.
Julia Galef vs. Epistemic Confidence vs. social trust:
We tend to combine two different things that we mean by the word “trust”. I call one of them “epistemic confidence,” and that’s the certainty you have in your self-confidence. Are you 100 percent sure that your business will succeed or are you only 30 percent sure? … And then the other kind of trust is what I call “social trust,” and that’s self-confidence. Do you have a good attitude? Do you speak with a confident tone of voice? Do you go out and take care of yourself and make things happen? Are you comfortable speaking in front of groups and putting your ideas together? And what I learned was that I both really thought about looking at a few academic studies, and then looking at real-life case studies, e.g. Jeff Bezos“Social trust is important to win people over and to look at you and get you to follow you.”
Julia Galef on the status quo bias:
Some will argue, ‘No, it’s good to have a human lifespan of about 85 years. Even if we find a way to prolong it, we don’t have to. ” They have several reasons for this to be bad. ‘If we lived longer, we would get bored’ or ‘If we lived longer, the pace of change in society would be too slow, as social habits and new innovations change as older generations die and new generations take their place in society’. … To see if your motivation to defend your current life is the result of a status quo bias, you might think that 85 years of life was not the status quo and instead the status quo was 170 years. Would you feel that it would have been a good thing if a genetic mutation had halved your life to 85? Would you say ‘Yes! Now society will start to change faster ‘? Or would you say, ‘No, it’s such a tragedy, we managed to live 170 years and now we only live 85 years’? So I think that revolutionizing that can change your intuition to make your life last. ”
Julia Galef in the external test:
“It’s a thought experiment to imagine a stranger carrying your body on TV, to your position, and now he’s finding himself in your life, faced with those decisions, but without all the emotional baggage you’ve had. You’ve been doing it for years. So the stranger wonders, ‘Here I’m in the middle of another two-year course in exchange for that degree or something else. Which do I think is better? ‘ it can be a good way to see what seems like the best thing to do, that I am. “
Julia Galef Batman TV show:
“I was 17 years old, and I thought that was what people in the 60s considered a serious adventure show, a serious drama. So I felt really high about them – “I see what kind of cheese that is, because I’m sophisticated, but those people in the 60’s weren’t very sophisticated, to know how dumb all this is.” And I think I told so many other people — I mentioned that people weren’t very sophisticated in the ’60s — and someone once said to me,“ You know, Julia, it was always meant as a campground. Everyone who saw it in the 60s saw the cheese you saw in the same way. ‘… And after explaining that, it was obvious to me, and I was overwhelmed because I assumed people could be so stupid in the 60s, and that didn’t come as a surprise to me, and I didn’t question it. “