Belief --- Often Firm, Commonly Groundless

Trust or Verify

"Tell a man that there are 300 billion stars in the universe, and he'll believe you.... Tell him that a bench has wet paint upon it and he'll have to touch it to be sure." -Raimond Verwei (also credited to Albert Einstein) learned from Jonathan Kariv

Believing as Wishing...

"What really amazes me is how people who would not trust the US or European governments to do their laundry, have unconditional faith in Chinese government involvement in its very complex economy." ----  Vitaliy Katsenelson writing at Zero Hedge (July 2010)

Suspicious Minds

"They tell a story about the great diplomat, Prince Metternich, during the prolonged negotiations at the Congress of Vienna which redrew the map of Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. After one particularly difficult session Metternich was notified that the Russian ambassador had just died. And Metternich is reported to have replied, `Ah,what could have been his purpose?' " ---- noted by Merton Miller in a talk that aimed to explain why even though 'dividends don't matter" a change in dividend policy can still move stock prices provided that the change is unanticipated.

Confident Paths

"I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown." --- Woody Allen (quoted by Doug Kass).

On the Road Again...

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." -- attributed to Winston Churchill (precise source unknown).

EMH and the Death Grip

"Despite the many advances in the statistical analysis, databases, and theoretical models surrounding the EMH,
the main result of all of these studies is to harden the resolve of the proponents of each side of the debate."
--- Andy Lo, writing in the New Palgrave on the efficient market hypothesis.

Nullius in verba

That is, “take no one’s word for it.” This is the motto of the Royal Society, or as we'd say here, the British Royal Society. Founded in 1660, the first year of the reign of Charles II, the Society has had uneasy moments, but by-and-large it has stood as a beacon of truth seeking and civility.

It amazes me at times when in a conversation with a non-scientist and I ask "Where did you get that?" or assert more straightforwardly "That doesn't make sense to me"and then my interlocutor gets all huffy.

I've come to anticipate this as a "lack of training" effect. It's sad, but it must be expected.


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