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danydandan

Anecdotes and Anecdotal Evidence.

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Aquila King
13 minutes ago, joc said:

Except that, to a large degree, we do control our subconscious minds.  We choose what we eat, what we drink which affects the autonomous systems of our bodies.  We also influence our subconscious minds by choosing what thoughts we think and what words we do and do not say.  

That controlling our own thoughts is the only power that we actually do have, I think, is somewhat enlightening.  98% of us don't even realize that.  But many people falsely  believe that they have power over other peoples thoughts...which is sad...and scary.  

I have difficulty believing that those with addictions, or just regular people with natural desires like food, water, sex, love, etc. can control these thoughts once consciously aware of them. Or that even those who have PTSD or other mental health issues could overcome these hurdles themselves without any external assistance. Some thoughts we can control, yes, but others are not so easy if not outright impossible.

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joc
39 minutes ago, Aquila King said:

I have difficulty believing that those with addictions, or just regular people with natural desires like food, water, sex, love, etc. can control these thoughts once consciously aware of them. Or that even those who have PTSD or other mental health issues could overcome these hurdles themselves without any external assistance. Some thoughts we can control, yes, but others are not so easy if not outright impossible.

Many hardcore heroin addicts have quit cold turkey and never gone back.  Look at the obesity rate in America.  It isn't that they cannot control their food intake, it is that they choose not too.  Mental health issues are an entirely different story...but to some degree depression can be helped by positive thinking.

The one problem that most have in common is fear.  The second problem is the N Apostrophe T. And for the most part, it is fear that keeps people locked into the N Apostrophe T thought process.  I can't...I shouldn't...I couldn't...etc. It is also why people who don't really believe deep down what they have been taught from birth continue in the belief system.  They are afraid to say it is wrong...it is incorrect...it is untrue.  And for good reason...the beat down from family and friends and peers is just, for some, too hard to overcome.

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Aquila King
21 hours ago, joc said:

Many hardcore heroin addicts have quit cold turkey and never gone back.

And they would be the exception, not the rule.

Just cause a few can quit cold turkey doesn't mean that everyone can. It's unrealistic to expect that from people.

21 hours ago, joc said:

Look at the obesity rate in America. It isn't that they cannot control their food intake, it is that they choose not too. 

Well first of all, obesity can be cause by a variety of things: diet, medication, stress, genetics, metabolism, poverty, various other mental health issues, etc. So to say obese people are obese cause they chose to be just isn't entirely accurate on the face of it, since the majority of these ^ things have nothing to do with personal choice. 

Although it is true that we can all make a personal effort to eat healthy and exercise to stay in shape. So you're correct in some sense. However it just isn't always as easy to actually put to practice as it sounds. Some people are naturally more wired for addictive eating disorders, others are genetically predisposed to weight gain, others live in high stress environments with long work schedules that make it difficult to take time out of their day to work on staying in shape, etc. etc. 

My point is, it isn't as easy to put to practice for a lot of people as you make it sound.

21 hours ago, joc said:

Mental health issues are an entirely different story...but to some degree depression can be helped by positive thinking.

If depression could be helped simply by positive thinking, then there wouldn't really be much of a need for psychologists or counselors. Besides, many in the positive thinking crowd are just as wrong as the cynics out there. It's not about thinking positively, it's about thinking realistically.

At the end of the day, it seems like you're just pointing a finger and blaming people for their own problems, which never solves anything.

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joc
4 hours ago, Aquila King said:
On 2/6/2019 at 6:40 PM, joc said:

Many hardcore heroin addicts have quit cold turkey and never gone back.

And they would be the exception, not the rule.

Just cause a few can quit cold turkey doesn't mean that everyone can. It's unrealistic to expect that from people.

I never said it was a rule, or the rule, or what most do.  Most don't.  Most die of OverDose.    I never said it was easy.  Nor do I expect it from people.  I expect people to do what is easy.  The old adage is true...If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  Ask any professional athlete if it was easy.  Ask any successful  Entrepreneur if it was easy.  Easy is what most people do.  I never said taking control of one's own thought process was easy.  It isn't...it isn't easy to face one's fears.  What does Easy vs Hard have to do with anything?

4 hours ago, Aquila King said:

Well first of all, obesity can be cause by a variety of things: diet, medication, stress, genetics, metabolism, poverty, various other mental health issues, etc. So to say obese people are obese cause they chose to be just isn't entirely accurate on the face of it, since the majority of these ^ things have nothing to do with personal choice. 

Well...first of all the vast majority of obesity in the United States is not medication, stress, genetics, metabolism, poverty or mental health issues.  The vast majority of obesity is caused by overeating...pure and simple.   But giving up sugar, and McDonalds, and Popeyes Fried Chicken is not an impossible thing to do.  Lot's of people are making better choices everyday...because they choose to make better choices.  They are taking control of their own thought process.  And I never said that obese people chose to be obese.  What's important to understand is that they did choose not to take control of their own thought process.   No one becomes obese overnight.  But to say that the vast majority of the obese were incapable of taking control of their own thought process is absurd.  They chose not to...because that is easy...and changing your own thoughts isn't.  It's hard.

4 hours ago, Aquila King said:

Although it is true that we can all make a personal effort to eat healthy and exercise to stay in shape. So you're correct in some sense. However it just isn't always as easy to actually put to practice as it sounds. Some people are naturally more wired for addictive eating disorders, others are genetically predisposed to weight gain, others live in high stress environments with long work schedules that make it difficult to take time out of their day to work on staying in shape, etc. etc. 

My point is, it isn't as easy

On 2/6/2019 at 5:55 PM, Aquila King said:

I have difficulty believing that those with addictions, or just regular people with natural desires like food, water, sex, love, etc. can control these thoughts once consciously aware of them. Or that even those who have PTSD or other mental health issues could overcome these hurdles themselves without any external assistance. Some thoughts we can control, yes, but others are not so easy if not outright impossible.

to put to practice for a lot of people as you make it sound.

And my point is...I never used the word easy...not once...you have used it in conjunction with the N Apostrophe T 3 times in whatever argument you are trying to make against Positive Thinking.  Why would anyone argue against Positive Thinking? 

 

4 hours ago, Aquila King said:

If depression could be helped simply by positive thinking, then there wouldn't really be much of a need for psychologists or counselors. Besides, many in the positive thinking crowd are just as wrong as the cynics out there. It's not about thinking positively, it's about thinking realistically.

At the end of the day, it seems like you're just pointing a finger and blaming people for their own problems, which never solves anything.

When I was 19 I was incredibly depressed.  I didn't leave my bedroom for 3 months.  All I did was doodle and write poetry.  But I got myself out of my own depression because I changed the way I had been thinking about certain things.  It is easy to blame...it is not so easy to blame one's own self for one's own problems.  

What does thinking realistically have to do with radically changing one's life?  Here is the thing Aquila...in order to take control of your own thought process you have to want to change.  You have to WANT to change.  A 'desire' to change has to be present...and whatever desire one has can be dramatically increased into a burning white hot desire...by focusing on the 'desire' and losing the n't that seems to be ever present in so much of the thinking that goes on day in and day out.  I can't do this and I can't do that....  When one says Can't, a question is posed....Why Not?  And the answer to that is usually Excuses...I can't because of this or that or whatever the Excuse Dejor is.   When one says Can, a question is also posed...How?  Well see, it is Easy to make Excuses...it is much more difficult to ponder to answer the question How...but that is the key question.  

I'm not blaming anyone for anything...all I am saying is that we have no control whatsoever over the world...over our own little part of it we have some...and that control has to come from our own choices.  And it is in our power...each one of us has that power... to control our own thoughts.  And  to put out the vibe that most do not have that power is a dis-service to Humanity.   We all have that power...but we are all Human and to do what is easy is a huge factor in all of it.   Not to mention those around us filling our heads with the N'ts of life...just like you are doing here.  And lastly, the largest degree of control over our own thinking is out right...take no prisoners....abandonment of the negative.

Edited by joc
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Arbenol
On 2/7/2019 at 3:46 AM, RoofGardener said:

Hmmm.. that being the case..... 

What is the difference between "Anectodal Evidence" (deemed poor quality and unworthy) and a Witness Statement (considered highly important in a court of law). 

If I say that I saw a flying saucer, is that anecdotal evidence, or a witness statement ? 

 

Excellent point. The problem is that eye witness testimony should not be highly valued. Most research indicates very strongly that people are not as observant as they think they are and will often swear blind they saw something they didn't (or didn't see something they should have).

Quote
For more than a decade, my colleagues and I have been studying a form of invisibility known as inattentional blindness. In our best-known demonstration, we showed people a video and asked them to count how many times three basketball players wearing white shirts passed a ball. After about 30 seconds, a woman in a gorilla suit sauntered into the scene, faced the camera, thumped her chest and walked away. Half the viewers missed her. In fact, some people looked right at the gorilla and did not see it.
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/but-did-you-see-the-gorilla-the-problem-with-inattentional-blindness-17339778/#CeHJpITy8798ELlo.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/but-did-you-see-the-gorilla-the-problem-with-inattentional-blindness-17339778/

People who study this kind of thing know that eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable and should not be considered as highly valuable evidence in a court of law.

And that doesn't even begin to address the problems many people have in interpreting what they see or experience.

 

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third_eye

Let's peek at the riddle through different lens....
 

Quote

 

~

Quantum Riddle | Quantum Entanglement - Documentary HD 2019

[00.53:27]

~


 

~

Did good ol' Heraclitus hear or did he heard ?
 

Quote

 

~

Jan 22, 2014 - Heraclitus was born in Ephesus, an important ancient city located on the ... to realize the true nature of the universe to a man waking from sleep, unable to ... “Listening not to me but to the Logos it is wise to agree that all things are one. ... Heraclitus does not mean to say that all things literally come from fire.
 
~
 
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, and a native of the city of .... Diogenes relates that as a boy Heraclitus had said he "knew nothing" but later ... that Heraclitus' work was "a continuous treatise On Nature, but was divided into .... This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made.

 

~

 

 

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joc
On 2/6/2019 at 8:46 AM, RoofGardener said:

Hmmm.. that being the case..... 

What is the difference between "Anectodal Evidence" (deemed poor quality and unworthy) and a Witness Statement (considered highly important in a court of law). 

If I say that I saw a flying saucer, is that anecdotal evidence, or a witness statement ? 

 

The difference is...there is absolutely ZERO amount of anecdotal evidence that can prove a flying saucer was actually there.  And it depends on the type of witness statement in a court proceeding.  Did the Eye Witness pick #6 out of a line-up of 8?  If that is the case then to have a point you would have to have flying saucers, several, already in possession and have that witness pick out which flying saucer they saw.

That being said...there is a high degree of vetting for Eye Witnesses 'before' they ever get to the stand.

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RoofGardener
28 minutes ago, joc said:

The difference is...there is absolutely ZERO amount of anecdotal evidence that can prove a flying saucer was actually there.  And it depends on the type of witness statement in a court proceeding.  Did the Eye Witness pick #6 out of a line-up of 8?  If that is the case then to have a point you would have to have flying saucers, several, already in possession and have that witness pick out which flying saucer they saw.

That being said...there is a high degree of vetting for Eye Witnesses 'before' they ever get to the stand.

If eight witnesses swear that they saw a flying saucer, and their accounts are even remotely consistent with each other, then there is strong anecdotal evidence of the existence of SOMETHING, and compelling grounds for investigation. 

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joc
2 minutes ago, RoofGardener said:

If eight witnesses swear that they saw a flying saucer, and their accounts are even remotely consistent with each other, then there is strong anecdotal evidence of the existence of SOMETHING, and compelling grounds for investigation. 

And the investigation will no doubt yield no actual evidence of a flying saucer.  However; if one witness said they saw Joe Glockholder robbing a convenience store...and... if they  pick Joe out of a line-up, that is not strong anecdotal evidence...that is proof of the allegation and compelling grounds for a conviction.

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danydandan
9 minutes ago, RoofGardener said:

If eight witnesses swear that they saw a flying saucer, and their accounts are even remotely consistent with each other, then there is strong anecdotal evidence of the existence of SOMETHING, and compelling grounds for investigation. 

Yeah your right, that's all it is. Grounds for investigation is all it is. Or like I stated in my OP anecdotes should only be used to determine if something should be researched. They should not be used as evidence to prove the anecdote itself.

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Mr Walker
On 06/02/2019 at 9:21 PM, danydandan said:

What is an anecdote and what does it mean to offer an anecdote as evidence?

The Oxford English dictionary defines an anecdote as the following: An account regarded as unreliable or hearsay, it also defines it as a short musing or interesting story about a real incident or person. So we are left with an inconsistent definition of a term or do we simply say an anecdote is a short tale or story that is unreliable but the teller believes it to be true? Or do we then dismiss both definitions and consider what anecdotal is defined as?

Anecdotal appears to be an amalgamation of the definitions of the word anecdote. The English Oxford dictionary defines anecdotal as the following: An account of an event not necessarily true or reliable, because the telling of said event is based on a personal account rather than facts or research.

So in other words anecdotes are subjective, rather than objective.

 

What do us (Scientists) define evidence as?

Oxford English dictionary defines evidence as the following: The available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid. But the term we scientists use for evidence is much more complex. So we have come up with a term scientific evidence, but what does term scientific evidence mean?

Scientific evidence is derived from the scientific method, principles of inference and the concept of scientific proof. So by definition the term scientific evidence is objectionable, empirical and testable.

So for this discussion I use the term evidence in the scientific term.

 

So now that I have defined my terms, the term Anecdotal Evidence becomes oxymoronic. How can we as scientists accept evidence from a subjective, biased and uncontrolled source?

An anecdote is a story or experience, often offered here on these forums as evidence , that was not controlled and as such is open to a myriad of confounding factors. I suppose us sceptics and scientists have come to use the word anecdotal as a derogatory dismissal of such experiences and weak types of evidence. To be honest we have good reason to use the term is such regard as often anecdotal evidence is often the only means of which some individuals can construct their fantasies or beliefs.

For example if you went to a doctor and they offered you lemonade to cure a sickness, and you asked “Are you sure this is going to work?” The doctor replies “I have seen it work in my practise a number of times.” Would you accept it?

Unfortunately medical science has been dogged and held back by anecdotal evidence to the detriment of people who believe in Homeopathy and the likes.

 

But why shouldn't we accept anecdotes as evidence?

Our memories and perceptions are constructed narratives loosely based on reality, memories can change over time, and often do, with details of these memories shifting to fit our current narrative. We are also subject to confirmation bias, which is a tendency to selectively remember information to support our narrative. By definition anecdotes are casual observations, which means they rarely contain objective measurements, but even the most careful observation should not be generalised because it represents one case and is thus not statistically representative.

In my opinion, and most other scientifically minded people, anecdotes should be used only to indicate the possibility of a phenomenon, (notice that I said possibility not probability), that may need further research or exploration. Anecdotes can be used to, I suppose, generate an hypothesis, but not to confirm one.

Providers or defenders of anecdotal evidence will claim, that since its reliable for everyday mundane experiences we can rely upon anecdotes in a more generalised term. But that's both a false premise and false analogy as we know everyday experiences can be misleading, we have numerous experiments designed to investigate our memories. The overall consensus is that our recollections are flawed, and our interpretation of events even more flawed. Another issue is we are predisposed to believe stories, specifically if they have emotional themes, which always comes up in these forums. But of course there are exceptions, so one may ask how can we as a scientific community dismiss all anecdotal evidence if one or two are real? Why would these people lie?

Well we can because of the issues risen above, and people often do not know they are offering false information. But we aren't dismissing of these anecdotes, like I said they can be used to ask a question, but should not be used to answer a question.

So you may be asking after reading, if you read it all, what do I want to discuss?

I would like this thread to discuss why proponents of anecdotes and anecdotal evidence, based on the terms I defined at the start, think we as a scientific community should just accept your anecdotes as evidence? And why you think your anecdotal evidence is valid in the first place?

@Saru if this is in the wrong section I apologise. I'm not sure if it should be in the Science section or not. 

Every thing related from one  person to another is anecdotal Including the results of a scientific experiment  

The first person does the experiment and has first hand evidence of the results The second person ONLY has anecdotal evidences of those results, until he/she reproduces them, themselves  

What you are saying is that you find some forms and content of anecdotes more acceptable  than others. 

https://www.wettropics.gov.au/rainforest_explorer/Resources/Documents/8to9/TypesOfEvidence.pdf

 

The researchers noted a correlation between the use of TDD and the control of cyclomatic complexity in the resulting code. This observation is hardly news to anyone who writes software for a living. In our informal discussion after the presentation, I was quite astonished at how pleased the researchers were with themselves; they kept saying they had “discovered” the correlation, and that no one had ever noticed it before. It was a breakthrough! I pointed out that this was already well known to practitioners; it was one of the reasons we choose TDD as a preferred software development practice. If TDD didn’t give us results like that, we wouldn’t bother to do it. We didn’t wait for a study to tell us so; we knew it to be so based on direct experience. It is a result of incremental refactoring, which is done as part of the basic red-green-refactor cycle. Cyclomatic complexity is just one sort of design debt that we manage through the TDD cycle. They said, well, no one has published the observation before. They excitedly suggested that I write a paper about it.

I felt genuinely puzzled. The publication of a paper does not cause reality to exist. Reality exists first, and then researchers eventually notice it and write it down. The first one to write something down gets to name it after him/herself. Practitioners don’t stop delivering value to customers so that they can write papers. Practitioners don’t wait until someone publishes a paper to “prove” the value of a technique before they try it and decide for themselves whether the technique helps them. If they did, then researchers would never have anything to observe. The discussion drove home the fact a wide gulf exists between software development practitioners and the research community.

https://davenicolette.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/all-evidence-is-anecdotal/

 

What is the role of anecdotal evidence in research of complex social systems?

Many phenomena in complex social systems seem beyond revelation by any robust scientific methodology (or at least beyond anything of reasonable cost) while there may be substantial anecdotal evidence for the phenomena. That is, people observing what they consider to be a causal relationship. To what extent can a qualitative research project utilise this evidence as: 1) the basis of hypotheses; 2) evidence in support of hypotheses.

In Brokerage and Closure, Burt (2004) for example, occasionally refers to anecdotal evidence to support his theoretical models. e.g. "Evidence on adaptive implementation is primarily in the form of anecdotes, in part because the processes by which people bridge structural holes are so varied and sensitive to context."

https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_the_role_of_anecdotal_evidence_in_research_of_complex_social_systems

 

The root of the word anecdote simply is "unpublished"  so I guess that,  once an anecdote gets published, it is no longer anecdotal  :) (see longer quote above)  

 

 

 

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Mr Walker
On 06/02/2019 at 11:46 PM, danydandan said:

Don't worry I did three years of procrastination in college, it worked out in the end.  I sent an invite prepare for war.

If you are going to procrastinate, college /university is the place for it.  No time for it once you enter the real world  

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Mr Walker
On 07/02/2019 at 12:01 AM, joc said:

I do not think education will ever stop such thinking.  We are the most educated humans in the history of humans...has it helped?  The problem is that it is taught from birth.   Therefore, it is 'ingrained' in the thinking of not only individuals but of the entire 'culture'.   But I think it is a bit more than that even.  Just like the Iguanas and snakes on the Islands of Galapagos....repetition over generations creates changes in the DNA itself.  I think it is safe to say that anecdotal thinking is and has been for a very long time, part of our DNA.  How do you ever overcome that?  I don't think that can even evolve itself out of humanity.  We are stuck with it.  Only a small percentage of any population is going to actually consider that what they think and feel about something is irrelevant. The Few, the Proud, the OpenMinded. :)

A human can't learn and survive without personal anecdotal thinking eg learning by past experiences and narrative, talking to self and arguing pov, learned from different experiences,  with self. 

It is not safe to simply trust on/in the learned knowledge of others.  

Edited by Mr Walker

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danydandan
22 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

Every thing related from one  person to another is anecdotal Including the results of a scientific experiment  

The first person does the experiment and has first hand evidence of the results The second person ONLY has anecdotal evidences of those results, until he/she reproduces them, themselves  

What you are saying is that you find some forms and content of anecdotes more acceptable  than others. 

https://www.wettropics.gov.au/rainforest_explorer/Resources/Documents/8to9/TypesOfEvidence.pdf

 

The researchers noted a correlation between the use of TDD and the control of cyclomatic complexity in the resulting code. This observation is hardly news to anyone who writes software for a living. In our informal discussion after the presentation, I was quite astonished at how pleased the researchers were with themselves; they kept saying they had “discovered” the correlation, and that no one had ever noticed it before. It was a breakthrough! I pointed out that this was already well known to practitioners; it was one of the reasons we choose TDD as a preferred software development practice. If TDD didn’t give us results like that, we wouldn’t bother to do it. We didn’t wait for a study to tell us so; we knew it to be so based on direct experience. It is a result of incremental refactoring, which is done as part of the basic red-green-refactor cycle. Cyclomatic complexity is just one sort of design debt that we manage through the TDD cycle. They said, well, no one has published the observation before. They excitedly suggested that I write a paper about it.

I felt genuinely puzzled. The publication of a paper does not cause reality to exist. Reality exists first, and then researchers eventually notice it and write it down. The first one to write something down gets to name it after him/herself. Practitioners don’t stop delivering value to customers so that they can write papers. Practitioners don’t wait until someone publishes a paper to “prove” the value of a technique before they try it and decide for themselves whether the technique helps them. If they did, then researchers would never have anything to observe. The discussion drove home the fact a wide gulf exists between software development practitioners and the research community.

https://davenicolette.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/all-evidence-is-anecdotal/

 

What is the role of anecdotal evidence in research of complex social systems?

Many phenomena in complex social systems seem beyond revelation by any robust scientific methodology (or at least beyond anything of reasonable cost) while there may be substantial anecdotal evidence for the phenomena. That is, people observing what they consider to be a causal relationship. To what extent can a qualitative research project utilise this evidence as: 1) the basis of hypotheses; 2) evidence in support of hypotheses.

In Brokerage and Closure, Burt (2004) for example, occasionally refers to anecdotal evidence to support his theoretical models. e.g. "Evidence on adaptive implementation is primarily in the form of anecdotes, in part because the processes by which people bridge structural holes are so varied and sensitive to context."

https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_the_role_of_anecdotal_evidence_in_research_of_complex_social_systems

 

The root of the word anecdote simply is "unpublished"  so I guess that,  once an anecdote gets published, it is no longer anecdotal  :) (see longer quote above)  

 

 

 

Completely irrelevant to the OP, the definitions I've set forth and any question I've forwarded for discussion.

I'm not here to discuss what you or anyone else consider anecdotal evidence. I've given my definition and most of what the scientific community would consider anecdotal. If your not happy with that you may start your own thread. I'm looking to discuss within the parameters I've set in my OP.

Please don't off-topic this thread. Thanks.

Edited by danydandan

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Mr Walker
16 minutes ago, danydandan said:

Completely irrelevant to the OP, the definitions I've set forth and any question I've forwarded for discussion.

Why so and how come? 

Are you saying you have set, and will accept, only one definition of anecdotal and this is always negative?

eg as a high school student aged 15  in 1966 i did a major  piece of field work which took me dozens of hours.  I counted  and classified every vehicle and pedestrian  coming into town on the 3 access routes  (am /pm, busy periods and slow periods ) and out again, via sampling.   I used 15 minutes sampling per  hour  observation at each site.  I did it for every day of the week for several weeks  I graphed these. I then went into the town and counted every parking spot in town and mapped these 

i then counted every car in the town at certain times  (and i used a coloured piece of paper under the windscreen wiper  so i would not count a car twice if it moved during the sampling period) 

 I then sat down and analysed the data and predicted future expansions of shopping traffic congestion that would develop with new residential and commercial developments in the pipelne;  the parking that would be required, problems that would arise with road trains carrying grain, and the future need for a lot more off street parking  and wider roads 

This was all put together in a report (by me)  before the days of computers and sent off to Adelaide  for assessment.by the public examinations board.  I gained 95%  Then it was submitted  to council who used it to help in thei town planning for the next 10 years 

My point is this. When did all that stop becoming anecdotal?

I actually did all the work, used correct sampling methods, etc BUT, if lazy, i could have just made it all up.  So who decides if it is anecdotal or scientific, and thus usable/reliable or not?

 

Edited by Mr Walker

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danydandan
6 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

Why so and how come? 

Are you saying you have set and will accept only one definition of anecdotal and this is always negative?

eg as a high school student aged 15  i did a major  piece of field work which took me dozens of hours  I counted  and classified every vehicle and pedestrian  coming into town (am pm busy periods and slow periods  and out again via sampling.)   I used 15 minutes sampling per  hour  observation at each site.  I graphed these. I then went into the town and counted every parking spot in town and mapped these 

i then counted every car in the town at certain times  (and i used a coloured piece of paper under the windscreen wiper  so i would not count a car twice if it moved during the sampling period) 

 I then sat down and analysed the data and predicted future expansions of shopping the parking that would be requited, problems tha t would arise with road trims carry ing grain and the future need for a lot more off street parking  and wider roads 

This was all put together in a report (by me)  before the days of computers and sent off to Adelaide  for assessment. I gained 95%  Then it was submitted  to council who used it to help in thei town planning for the next 10 years 

My point is this. Wwhen did all that stop becoming anecdotal?

I actually did all the work, used correct sampling methods, etc BUT if lazy i could have just made it all up.  So who decides if it is anecdotal or scientific, and thus usable/reliable or not?

 

Yes I've determined my definitions at the start of my OP. I thought that was evidently clear so was my question of discussion, that's why I defined what I'd like to discuss, if your not willing to discuss that, I'd ask you not to off-topic this thread.

"With the terms I've set forth, why should we as a scientific community accept anecdotal evidence?"

It's all pretty clear. 

Edit: If you want to discuss various other definitions of anecdotes and anecdotal evidence and why you think evidence should be fluid, then I advise you to start your own discussion. I'd be happy to participate in it and staying on-topic.

Edited by danydandan
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Mr Walker
21 minutes ago, danydandan said:

Completely irrelevant to the OP, the definitions I've set forth and any question I've forwarded for discussion.

I'm not here to discuss what you or anyone else consider anecdotal evidence. I've given my definition and most of what the scientific community would consider anecdotal. If your not happy with that you may start your own thread. I'm looking to discuss within the parameters I've set in my OP.

Please don't off-topic this thread. Thanks.

 

This is your opening few paragraphs One cannot address these questions without discussing the nature of an anecdote and whether it can be used as a form of evidence . Otherwise you wilonly get responses which agree with you 

What is an anecdote and what does it mean to offer an anecdote as evidence?

The Oxford English dictionary defines an anecdote as the following: An account regarded as unreliable or hearsay, it also defines it as a short musing or interesting story about a real incident or person. So we are left with an inconsistent definition of a term or do we simply say an anecdote is a short tale or story that is unreliable but the teller believes it to be true? Or do we then dismiss both definitions and consider what anecdotal is defined as?

Anecdotal appears to be an amalgamation of the definitions of the word anecdote. The English Oxford dictionary defines anecdotal as the following: An account of an event not necessarily true or reliable, because the telling of said event is based on a personal account rather than facts or research.

So in other words anecdotes are subjective, rather than objective.

 

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Mr Walker
3 minutes ago, danydandan said:

Yes I've determined my definitions at the start of my OP. I thought that was evidently clear so was my question of discussion, that's why I defined what I'd like to discuss, if your not willing to discuss that, I'd ask you not to off-topic this thread.

"With the terms I've set forth, why should we as a scientific community accept anecdotal evidence?"

It's all pretty clear. 

And my response explained exactly why you not only should, but must , and indeed DO, accept anecdotal evidences in science.

You just call it,  or think of it, as something else, like, " the results of individual research " or "scientific opinion" :) 

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danydandan
9 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

 

This is your opening few paragraphs One cannot address these questions without discussing the nature of an anecdote and whether it can be used as a form of evidence . Otherwise you wilonly get responses which agree with you 

What is an anecdote and what does it mean to offer an anecdote as evidence?

The Oxford English dictionary defines an anecdote as the following: An account regarded as unreliable or hearsay, it also defines it as a short musing or interesting story about a real incident or person. So we are left with an inconsistent definition of a term or do we simply say an anecdote is a short tale or story that is unreliable but the teller believes it to be true? Or do we then dismiss both definitions and consider what anecdotal is defined as?

Anecdotal appears to be an amalgamation of the definitions of the word anecdote. The English Oxford dictionary defines anecdotal as the following: An account of an event not necessarily true or reliable, because the telling of said event is based on a personal account rather than facts or research.

So in other words anecdotes are subjective, rather than objective.

 

These are trains of thought, and rhetorical. You'll notice i gave my definitions and at the end asked the question I wanted to ask at the end.

Edited by danydandan
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Mr Walker
5 minutes ago, danydandan said:

These are trains of thought, and rhetorical. You'll notice i gave my definitions and at the end asked the question I wanted to ask.

So you never wanted anyone to answer any of those other questions you  asked in the OP ?

Could have saved me a lot of time and effort if you  had said so  in the OP :) 

 

You wanted only these questions addressed ?

 

So you may be asking after reading, if you read it all, what do I want to discuss?

I would like this thread to discuss why proponents of anecdotes and anecdotal evidence, based on the terms I defined at the start, think we as a scientific community should just accept your anecdotes as evidence? And why you think your anecdotal evidence is valid in the first place?

 

ah well. I have given you a comprehensive answer to those questions, also. 

But  would say that, as you have your definitions of anecdotal wrong, or too limited, you wont get a satisfactory (to you) answer to your questions) 

Technically when a researcher gives an oral address of his findings to a group this is anecdotal. If he provides  a written report it is not anecdotal but there is no substantive difference in the report. 

Edited by Mr Walker

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danydandan
6 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

So you never wanted anyone to answer any of those other questions you  asked in the OP ?

Could have saved me a lot of time and effort if you  had said so  in the OP :) 

 

You wanted only these questions addressed ?

 

So you may be asking after reading, if you read it all, what do I want to discuss?

I would like this thread to discuss why proponents of anecdotes and anecdotal evidence, based on the terms I defined at the start, think we as a scientific community should just accept your anecdotes as evidence? And why you think your anecdotal evidence is valid in the first place?

 

ah well. I have given you a comprehensive answer to those questions, also. 

No you didn't, you just gave someone else's opinion. 

Edit: None of your links even define what they mean by anecdotal either. So yeah it's off-topic.

Edited by danydandan
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Mr Walker
4 minutes ago, danydandan said:

No you didn't, you just gave someone else's opinion. 

No i gave my opinion and explained the evidences/ sources, on which i based tha t opinion. But I will stop, and see if you get ANYONE who is  prepared to debate  an OP where you don't want debate but validation . 

Edited by Mr Walker

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third_eye
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

No i gave my opinion and explained the evidences/ sources, on which i based tha t opinion. But I will stop, and see if you get ANYONE who is  prepared to debate  an OP where you don't want debate but validation . 

Oh just start a thread like @Will Due started his, 

You get to dictate your own courses of anecdotes, wouldn't that be fun ?

~

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Mr Walker
23 minutes ago, third_eye said:

Oh just start a thread like @Will Due started his, 

You get to dictate your own courses of anecdotes, wouldn't that be fun ?

~

Actually, under the rules, the OP poster cannot dictate or control the direction of the thread, or its content, as long as posters follow the other rules of the forum.

However he/she can  give directions and hope people are kind enough to follow them.

As mods have pointed out over the years,  threads evolve, and one poster will see or create links between points that the OP may not have considered.  

Edited by Mr Walker

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eight bits

This is probably more serious than the OP intends this topic to be, but here goes.

My estimate is that the median working scientist is "Humean" in their approach to thinking about evidence. As that relates to "anecdotal evidence," there is what you could call "David Hume's Membrane," easily adapted from his analysis of miraculous stories to the assessment of uncorroborated testimony generally:

Upon hearing a report, which would you be LESS surprised to learn:

- that the report is true?
- that the person making the report is mistaken, for whatever reason?

If the former, then the report sails through the membrane, and is provisionally accepted as true (always subject to possible refutation by other evidence). If the latter, then the report is caught on the membrane and dismissed with prejudice (subject to corroboration rehabilitating it, reopening the question of its truth).

Simple as it is, that "rule" makes for a fairly efficient way of life.

One complication that has emerged in the thread (as it does in real life) is whether a second or more similar report can serve as corroboration for a first report.

It would seem so intuitively. The American founders, wishing treason to be difficult to prosecute, adopted a refinement of the Biblical standard for conviction based on testimony: two witnesses to the same overt act (or confession in open court, Article III, Section.3 paragraph 1, US Constitution).

Actually, though, the form of the Membrane can be retained when adapted for multiple reports. Which is less surprising to learn, that the reports are true OR that every person making such a report is mistaken, for whatever reason(s)?

However, the implementation of that is complicated enough that you begin to appreciate what Laplace brought to the field when he introduced probability as a mathematical model of rational confidence. That parenthesis around the "s" reveals the difficulty: if there are distinct reports, how independent are they from one another?

That is, if they're wrong, are they each wrong for very different reasons peculiar to each report(er), or for the "same reason," or for closely related reasons, or...?  PLUS that question must be answered knowing that if they aren't wrong, then simply being observers of the same thing must introduce some dependency between the reports.

The quality of "independence" among the reports that we're looking for is pretty simple to frame up in mathematics, but not necessarily intutitive to articulate and apply without some practice using worked examples - as in doing calculations with realistic data.

Well, that's a lot to digest for a single post, but that's what I think is going on with "anecdotal evidence," and why it's sometimes accepted and sometimes not, why the plural of anecdote actually is sometimes data, but not in general, etc. Skeptics are people with a very sticky Hume's Membrane; scientists typically train theirs to be just sticky enough, and believers hardly have one at all :) .

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