[extropy-chat] Cold Fusion Survey

Ben Goertzel ben at goertzel.org
Tue Feb 13 17:08:39 UTC 2007

Some comments on your survey:

Judging by his replies, Clark obviously did not take time to review and 
understand the questions you asked.

Also, in future, when doing assessments like this, it may be interesting 
to ask people how much time/effort they have spent evaluating the issue 
in question, as a measure of the "weight of evidence" underlying their 
estimates.  All else equal, I generally will value someone else's 
estimate more if it is based on a larger amount of study on their part. 

In theory, people should factor this into their own estimates -- e.g. if 
they give an interval estimate, the interval width should narrow as they 
accumulate more evidence.  But some people might be better at estimating 
the mean of their estimated pdf than the interval width, in which case 
one may accept their mean but consider their estimated "subjective 
weight of evidence" as a possible correction to their stated interval width.

-- Ben

Robin Hanson wrote:
> On 2/12/2007, I asked:
>> Please, disputants and interested observers, offer (publicly or
>> privately) estimates or bounds for these four probabilities:
>> 1A. The probability that CF excess heat is a real phenomena, as
>> opposed to misleading experimental technique.
>> 2A.  The probability that CF excess heat is a real phenomena, and
>> indicates fundamental new physics, as opposed to a new chemistry
>> detail, such as a unexpected molecular structure.
>> 1B.  The threshold probability for 1A that would justify further
>> research into CF.
>> 2B.  The threshold probability for 2A that would justify further
>> research into CF.
> For those wanting a scorecard, here is a summary, including my estimate
>        John Clark Chris Hibbert Ben Goertzel Eugen 
> Leitl               R. Hanson
> 1A  5E-11          <5%             [.7 , .9]            so bad we 
> can't tell   15%
> 2A 5E-11          negligible     >.9 * [.7 , .9]   we don't know            2%
> 1B  1E-(1E10) 5%                .01                  no 
> answer                  10%
> 2B  1E-(1E10)   >negligible  0                      no 
> answer                  1%
> The range of estimates is disturbingly wide.
> Robin Hanson  rhanson at gmu.edu  <http://hanson.gmu.edu>http://hanson.gmu.edu
> Research Associate, Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University
> Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
> MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
> 703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323
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