Issue 5 of Calling Bulls**t
We know that few people have time to stop, Google and look at what available data actually has to say about a situation. That's understandable. We're simply too busy to verify every piece of information that comes our way. However, there is a scientific habit you should adopt in order to avoid making snap judgments that are just not true.
Since most of our world is dominated by unknown outcomes, the scientific mind needs to adopt a method that will help people explore outcomes. The number one method on this subject is called Bayesian thinking. The method is especially useful when defining probable outcomes. The process goes like this:
- Step one: Make a subjective probability of the hypothesis you want to try (this is called prior probability).
- Step two: Modify your estimate in the light of new data (posterior probability)
You might not have access to the same time, money and data as some media institutes might have, but that doesn't mean you should believe anything they say. Using Bayesian thinking will take you quite far in figuring out the likelihood of some hypothesis.