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Watsisname
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 02:42

MadAstronomer wrote:
Source of the post I just want to ask why didn't you ask us about the existence of extraterrestrial life outside the Solar System or the Milky Way galaxy?

That is actually asked implicitly in the poll. Think of the logic in the first three questions, and what it would mean for example if your response to A1 is greater than for B1.
 
Roy
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 08:58

The wording of the survey with all this indistinct testing is seen to me as overloaded, meaningless and collapsing under its own weight. 20 points - too many, most people struggle to operate even a 10-point system.
I will just say that unicellular life in the universe is pretty rare, multicellular is very rare and reasonable one is rare critically.
Solar sys except Earth is definitely and absolutely totally dead.
 
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FastFourierTransform
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 10:33

Roy wrote:
Source of the post The wording of the survey with all this indistinct testing is seen to me as overloaded, meaningless and collapsing under its own weight.

Roy, the idea here is not to have an accurate representation of what each one of us thinks really but to have a Jelly Beans in a Jar kind of poll, a crowd wisdom about a topic with no current scientific consensus. Your specific answer is not the point I care about, this is not an exam, the important thing is to place an average and dispersion of the answers to gain some taste about the overall consensus here and how strong could it be. None of us will be right and the vast majority of us will be farther away than the average estimate, but again, we want to know that, the general view, not yours. This implies we need lots of "Jelly Beans in the Jar", the essence of the poll is precisely to have you choose between a large number of possibilities, so much that you have to guess rather than convey a rigorous argument (there are really none which could make a good point with current evidence on the matter). If I showed you a jar with 4 jelly beans then your personal estimate would be easier to make but we wouldn't get any interesting information about the general perception since one or two points (one jelly bean above or below) would make the results fluctuate a lot.
I won't count your answer until it is made in the same format as the others. Make a bet like the rest of us if you want it to be included as an answer, please.
 
Roy
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 11:08

You can't collect wisdom by a stupid test, sorry. Also crowd doesn't have wisdom by definition, I mean look what they do to social politics, look what films crowd watches, they like cr.ap which gets Golden Raspberries.

FastFourierTransform wrote:
Source of the post Your specific answer is not the point I care about

Your specific question is same for me. Because you ask people a thing they don't know, giving them 20 points they can't consciously operate. In the end you will collect some data and it will be totally random, unreliable and no one will really like it. This will be a picture of how pop-culture taught people to think and they have no knowledge, they have Star Wars and reptilian conspiracy stuff instead.
 
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 12:44

Roy wrote:
Source of the post This will be a picture of how pop-culture taught people to think and they have no knowledge, they have Star Wars and reptilian conspiracy stuff instead.

This is exactly what I'm trying to learn here. What people (with their socio-cultural context) expect. You don't need to express yourself in such a pretentious way. No person here thinks this is a poll to discover what the real answer to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is. This is only to understand how optimistic and pessimistic people is.
Roy wrote:
Source of the post You can't collect wisdom by a stupid test, sorry. Also crowd doesn't have wisdom by definition

You should really learn about some important ideas here. I'm not saying "the masses" are smart (even if you are categorically telling us that they are stupid), I'm saying that in some circumstances individual guesses amount for interesting average data that can reveal how people think about a topic, like in the case of the "Jelly beans in a Jar" experiment. I don't expect anyone to answer correctly (in fact no one will, unless by chance). I want to know how people adjusts their ideas around this with all their influences and what can we learn about those influences.
Roy wrote:
Source of the post     FastFourierTransform wrote:
   Your specific answer is not the point I care about


Your specific question is same for me.

Roy, if you don't care about the poll why are you even here? You are free to ignore this thread, you are free to create a new thread. Maybe you care too much because you don't like it for some reason that is still obscure to me. Anyway, calm down, we are more or less nice people, we like to discuss things, we are not the smartest in the world, but there's no point in joining a forum like this and overweening about everything since the beginning.
 
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Watsisname
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 13:25

Roy wrote:
Source of the post You can't collect wisdom by a stupid test, sorry.

Okay. Not only did you not answer the poll's questions in the prescribed manner (which every other respondent thus far has managed to do with only a few minor errors), you also did not provide feedback which is constructive or actionable. You also use condescending language bordering on being insulting. It is toxic, unproductive, and this kind of behavior will not be tolerated here.

You don't seem to understand the poll or its motivations. That's fine. The appropriate thing to do then would be to ask questions and engage with its creator in a way that might promote learning and improving it. Basically, try to be nice, don't make assertions without justifying them, and don't assume you know better than they do.

Speaking of assertions, let's consider your claim that the distribution of answers will be totally random. How sure are you? Have you tried plotting the answers thus far and comparing to the outcome of the same number of trials made by a random number generator?
 
Roy
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 13:44

FastFourierTransform wrote:
Source of the post Maybe you care too much because you don't like it for some reason that is still obscure to me.


May be I have some reasons. Like I don't like tests and I don't like when somebody is searching the truth by asking masses and also because ridiculous answers come from them and topicstarter has to count them. And also I don't like when tests are made poorly. I see you're trying to be friendly and appreciate it, but there's at least one conceptual reason why your survey is wrong. You put the question this way: "There is or has been extraterrestrial life". But is and has been are the two different questions. Because "life has been" is actually "life is no more". Look how this works on practice: one is 25% sure that life exists, the other is 100% sure it has been but then died in entire galaxy, so he is sure that there is no extraterrestrial life. But he reads the question and gives 20 points for "has been". This way in your statistics the one who thinks the entire galaxy or universe is dead gives you more points than the one who partially believes in life. I hope you understand me now. This test is wrong, it doesn't work. And yes, this is my obscure reason. Some years ago I was working professionaly in social media and it was a nightmare of how many surveys were done like they were initially made to give wrong results. It's painful. You don't know how often I've seen over-complicated surveys with dozens of questions and answers so in the end none were understanding what they are talking about, including survey's author. You don't need 20 points for this. You need only 3:
I believe
I donno
I don't believe.
That's all. Because if I believe something then I do it 100%. If it's not 100% then I don't believe.
 
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Watsisname
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 16:09

Roy wrote:
Source of the post  This way in your statistics the one who thinks the entire galaxy or universe is dead gives you more points than the one who partially believes in life. This way in your statistics the one who thinks the entire galaxy or universe is dead gives you more points than the one who partially believes in life. I hope you understand me now. This test is wrong, it doesn't work.

You are making an assertion based on what what you think the questioner wants to know, rather than following the logic of the questions as they were asked and considering that, maybe, they were asked in that way for a reason.

I've known FFT for many years. If he wanted to study the differences in how confidently people believe in life existing off of Earth now vs. it ever existing, I am confident he would have phrased the questions in a way that reflected that.

Roy wrote:
Source of the post You don't need 20 points for this. You need only 3:
I believe
I donno
I don't believe.

If it's too many options for your liking, you could answer with 20, 10, and 0, respectively, and not have to change anything about the poll. But not everyone has such a limited view of what their confidence level can be as you do, as evident by the responses themselves.

In science, we use confidence levels all the time, and they can be any number between 0% and 100%. I am very confident for example that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating, but I am not 100% confident. The data support it at about 5-sigma or 99.99994% confidence. So there is a small chance it could be wrong. But it's much less likely to be wrong than if the confidence level was 50%, or even 99%. 

Sure, FFT could have made each question have just 3 options. But that would hide a lot of potentially interesting information from the histogram -- exactly the kind of information that he might be interested in. Suppose one of the questions gave a bi-modal distribution with peaks at 14 and 6, but with very few responses between 8 and 12. That would be interesting, and you would not be able to see it if there were instead just 3 possible responses. You would instead just see one peak at "I don't know".

And, sure, there's a reasonable limit to how finely the scale should be divided. If it's too fine, then you get few duplicate responses. Deciding how to set the scale is both a science and an art, and in this case 0 to 20 makes some good sense.
 
Roy
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 17:07

I didn't even read you. Talking to topicstarter.
 
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Astrobiology Poll

01 Mar 2021 17:34

Roy, okay, then you do not get to participate in this forum any further. FFT likewise asked "why are you even here?" Apparently not to have a respectful discussion with all participants. Respect is something we value at the core of our community. You do not get to raise a fuss about things you don't like about a poll and then selectively ignore the feedback you receive. If you only wanted to talk to the topic starter, you could have done it by PM.
 
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Astrobiology Poll

02 Mar 2021 02:22

I thought I would just ignore this recent discussion but I can't resist anymore: If it's so hard to normalise a scale to whatever personal preference, the poll must be lacking a question about terrestial intelligent life.
NIL DIFFICILE VOLENTI
 
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FastFourierTransform
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Astrobiology Poll

02 Mar 2021 05:39

midtskogen wrote:
Source of the post I thought I would just ignore this recent discussion but I can't resist anymore: If it's so hard to normalise a scale to whatever personal preference, the poll must be lacking a question about terrestial intelligent life.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post You do not get to raise a fuss about things you don't like about a poll and then selectively ignore the feedback you receive

Wow, I went to sleep thinking this person couldn't be more upset, but as it seems she/he totally is able to lower the bar.


I think a 20 point scale is fine because these questions are not independent between each other. Let me explain in case someone has interest in that particular issue (probably nobody has); If we make a scale of 3 and a person answers with a score of 2 to having life in the universe then it will be conditioned to have 2 or 1 in the rest of the questions about life in the Milky Way and the Solar System. This is because the questions are all conditionally related. I know this doesn't need to be explained, but the point is that a 20 point scale solves precisely the problem of not imposing an answer from how the questionnaire was constructed. The 3 scoring system would make essentially all the answers identical and people true opinions would be hidden. In any case I reduced it to a 10 score system for other polled groups outside the SE forum (my neighbors and friends essentially), but I think that 20 points is enough freedom for sufficiently educated people (at least on this topic), like the users of this forum and my co-workers at the Spanish Center for Astrobiology (which I'm polling using the 20 point scale version).

Again, the aim here is not to make people vote for the final result of SETI with the goal to understand exactly that final result, that's ridiculous. The point is to understand how pessimistic and optimistic we are, how different our opinions might be under our preconceived notions, and if people with different backgrounds think alike on this topic.

To make it clearer: This is not a publishable research. I'm not a social science researcher. I know very little about polling in terms of behavioural psychology. This is just us, making broad conclusions about ourselves on a topic we all seem to enjoy. At best I will use these results to make some intro to a speech about astronomy and ask people the same questions before and after the speech.


Anyways, this at least has reminded me that I should continue polling and try to display the results before the end of this year, I'm very slow.
 
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Astrobiology Poll

03 Mar 2021 02:51

Watsisname wrote:
Roy, okay, then you do not get to participate in this forum any further. FFT likewise asked "why are you even here?" Apparently not to have a respectful discussion with all participants. Respect is something we value at the core of our community. You do not get to raise a fuss about things you don't like about a poll and then selectively ignore the feedback you receive. If you only wanted to talk to the topic starter, you could have done it by PM.

Wow I was just about to say this is the friendliest forum I have found on the internet and then Roy had to spoil it.
You gave a very logical response and I dont see what the problem is.  FFT's poll is very efficient in the choices he offered us, and efficiency is what the goal of any good poll should be.
 
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Astrobiology Poll

03 Mar 2021 02:58

FastFourierTransform wrote:
Roy wrote:
Source of the post The wording of the survey with all this indistinct testing is seen to me as overloaded, meaningless and collapsing under its own weight.

Roy, the idea here is not to have an accurate representation of what each one of us thinks really but to have a Jelly Beans in a Jar kind of poll, a crowd wisdom about a topic with no current scientific consensus. Your specific answer is not the point I care about, this is not an exam, the important thing is to place an average and dispersion of the answers to gain some taste about the overall consensus here and how strong could it be. None of us will be right and the vast majority of us will be farther away than the average estimate, but again, we want to know that, the general view, not yours. This implies we need lots of "Jelly Beans in the Jar", the essence of the poll is precisely to have you choose between a large number of possibilities, so much that you have to guess rather than convey a rigorous argument (there are really none which could make a good point with current evidence on the matter). If I showed you a jar with 4 jelly beans then your personal estimate would be easier to make but we wouldn't get any interesting information about the general perception since one or two points (one jelly bean above or below) would make the results fluctuate a lot.
I won't count your answer until it is made in the same format as the others. Make a bet like the rest of us if you want it to be included as an answer, please.

I find this Jellybeans in a Jar concept highly intriguing.  I've seen this used as a plot in solving a mystery.  Give a crowd of people on the internet some clues and evidence to solve a mystery and with the assistance of crowdsourcing, each person will come up with their own ideas, which when used together may prove to be useful in solving the mystery.
 
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Stellarator
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Astrobiology Poll

22 Mar 2021 21:07

FastFourierTransform,
Terribly sorry, but I recall that you had asked me to get folks to fill out your poll over on the SFIA forum. Here is a link to the responses:
https://www.isaacarthur.net/forum/t/astrobiology-poll/79/

Apologies for forgetting!
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