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Additional resources for A critique of the determination of the energy-momentum of a system from the equations of motion of matter in the general theory of relativity

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We each know in a full-bodied way relatively few people, and for these people the number of characteristics, relationships, characteristics of relationships, relationships of characteristics, and so on that we are aware of is indeterminately large. Thus we tend to overestimate our general knowledge of others and are convinced of all sorts of associations (more complicated variants of “more shy, less intelligent”) that are simply bogus. By failing to adjust downward our multiple correlation coefficients, so to speak, we convince ourselves that we know all manner of stuff that just isn’t so.

As R. P. Cuzzort and James Vrettos demonstrated in The Elementary Forms of Statistical Reason, even less familiar statistical ideas such as control, standardization, hypothesis testing, so-called Bayesian analysis (how we revise our probability estimates in light of new evidence), and categorization correspond to commonsense phrases and ideas that are an integral part of human cognition and storytelling. Like Moliere’s character who is shocked to find he has been speaking prose his whole life, many people are surprised when told that much of what they characterize as common sense is statistics, or more generally, mathematics.

They consider numbers as coming from a different realm than narratives and not as distillations, complements, or summaries of them. People often cite statistics in bald form, without the supporting story and context*needed to give them meaning. Part of context is internal and attitudinal. As will be discussed in a later chapter, people don’t fully realize that how we characterize people and events, how we view their circumstances and context, and how we imbed them into stories often determines to a large extent what we think of them.

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