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Mistakes and science


Today is good day for some riddles.


In the previous post I made a mistake on the formula that I provided. It does not converge to a number. It is easy two see by examining the case of two individuals that know each other and then iteratively apply the formula. Then, at each step, the number increases by 1.

A more “correct” formula in the notion that people are motivated, learn and do things when they see meet motivated people follows. Allow me some notation.
I = intrinsic intelligence of someone
PI = average intrinsic intelligence of people that he knows
N = number of people that he knows
PN = average number of people that his (meaningful) connections know

In this case, the “social intelligence” as in before would be:
SI = I + PI + N + PN (we don’t normalize by constants because we don’t have to)

We apply this formula only once and not iteratively.

The initial point of the aforementioned formula was to underline that being clever in isolation is a contradiction when someone is judged in a context where his output towards his environment is what it matters. I must admit that I have already spent too much time trying to define it formally, since I can’t really test my hypothesis. I could not resist the temptation though.

When I realized my mistake, I thought about editing the post. Still, it provided a good chance to see whether it would generate any comments (here or in real life). I got no comments, so I guess that people are extremely kind or they don’t care. If the second case is true, I think it is nicer to help someone when he makes mistakes than leaving him in his ignorance.

Discussing the topic with a friend, he cleverly pointed out a the recent hoax about the month with 5 Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays that happens supposedly only once in many many years. If we take into account that a month with 31 days can only start at 7 different dates and a few other things (the conditions would look like those in Markov chains (aperiodic, recurrence) but not that strictly), we will see that this is not true. It can also be verified easily. Most people though don’t care.

So, there are mistakes that people don’t care about. That leads to the next topic.


In science we try to be as rigorous as possible. That’s a good thing. But we should not also forget to doubt things.

Believe those who seek the truth; doubt those who find it.

Not every question can be answered, but maybe it is good to have it asked.

I think the recent example in the field of psychology is a good one.


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