Articles to 2018-07-05

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First the link to this week's complete list as HTML and as PDF.


Well, well, well, finally somebody, Fisher et al., goes to great length to prove the blazingly obvious. At least they use the standard deviation throughout. In one single place they mention the standard error in passing but the do not comment on its nearly exclusive use in all the relevant literature. Large samples yield tiny SEs and generate very precise “scientific” results.

As far as I can tell their frequent use of ergodic is nothing but bandying scientific terms from physics. This is the one point political correctness gets right: Knowing what a typical Christian, Muslim, artist, whatever is supposed to be like tells you very little (but more than strictly nothing) about the individual you're actually and currently dealing with in person.


I’ll wait for the science article by Barbi et al. to come out, but my gut feelings tell me the results as reported by Dolgin sound fishy.


My interest in the Jews of Arabia is the following: The one group Mohammed most often and most strongly rails against are “those, who deny the resurrection”. Who are they? Probably not the residual polytheists and not Christians, although Arabia was mostly Christianized centuries ago. So is it the Jews? In sura 44 Mohammed mentions them and the deniers in consecutive verses.

We have numerous Muslim and Christian sources about the Jews of Arabia but no mention whatsoever in the Jewish sources from Babylon or anywhere else. Also there is no indication whatsoever of those Jews ever mentioning or even knowing the Mishnah or the Talmud. Could they be the Sadducees, seemingly a strong group in the New Testament but totally vanished by Mishnaic times, i.e. after the Roman expulsion of 137 ce? They are known to have rejected both the Oral Torah and the afterlife.


Lying to people and hiding things from them is a strategy very often employed by leaders and other politicians. As has often been supposed before, Kolodinsky & Lusk now demonstrate it to be counter productive. When sensing that the facts are being withheld from them, people tend to exaggerate in their estimates of what might be going on. Being frank and telling the truth turns out to be the best way.

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