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View Poll Results: Should Britain leave the European Union?

Voters
51. You may not vote on this poll
  • YES!...Must Brexit!

    20 39.22%
  • NO!...We Must Remain!

    25 49.02%
  • I have no idea what I want, yet I will vote anyway!

    6 11.76%
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Thread: BREXIT --->

  1. #151
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Uh, methodological point: There are two kinds of public debates, expert/analytical and popular/rhetorical.

    The first is rigorous but not accessible to the public, and if we're talking about technocrats in Brussels or their local "sympathizers", which is what "expert/analytical" is code for to a lot of people, local people are going to think they're lacking legitimacy making decisions by themselves without public input -- there's some kind of vague distrust -- even if their stats are good. They'll also get slammed for not knowing or distorting local conditions or opinion if not being outright hostile to the hoi palloi.

    The second is accessible but seriously swayed by manipulation and methods that are explicitly barred from analytical debates because they're so misleading, emotional rhetoric, appeals to fear, etc, and any use of statistics is almost sure to be next to worthless because they're not used in a rigorous way. But again making decisions without any democratic input at all, you're not going to get public acceptance. So you can't just not have a mushy public debate either.

    So you have this trap where you have to have both, but both seem almost carefully crafted to undo the work of the other. Any major public debate is a rope-walking exercise not so much in negotiating between the two as making sure we at least don't fall completely off to one side, and one ideally serves as the check to the other. Easier done in theory than practice, and it's not even easy to figure out in theory.

    Edit: This is pretty much, incidentally, my research area, the negotiation between international expert bodies and democratic decisionmaking, and most of my case studies were WTO, EU, or NAFTA.
    Last edited by demagogue; 22nd Jun 2016 at 05:47.

  2. #152
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivian View Post
    Statistics isn't proper science? Where the fuck did you go to school?
    It is.
    And you can draw scientific conclusions from statistics. As long as you know exactly what you are measuring. And you have control over the test environment. With large-scale economics, you have neither. The fact that loads of economical scientists will tell you that what they do is pure science, doesn't mean it is so. Large-scale economic science is mostly about handwaving and making unprovable claims.

    Physics and chemistry are true sciences. They gave us light bulbs, the propulsion engine, anti-biotics, transistors. And our lamps, cars, planes and computers work in predictable and controlled ways. Economic scientists know fuck all. If they would know something, they would be rich and not working anymore.

  3. #153
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    Antibiotics are from biology, and what the fuck is a 'propulsion engine'? Also, the point in doing stats is that is it actually pretty much impossible to know exactly what you are measuring, or to have complete control over the test environment. So you use stats to estimate how likely it is that what you HAVE measured has any resemblance to the truth. They do this in your "true" sciences (argh, as a palaeontologist and biologist you have no idea how many times I've come across people saying stupid shit like that) and they do it everything else.

  4. #154
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivian View Post
    Antibiotics are from biology
    Splitting hairs.

    and what the fuck is a 'propulsion engine'?
    My apologies for my bad english. It seems the proper word is "jet engine".
    I was just semi-randomly picking some results of science that are actually useful, applicable and predictably true. To show the contrast with the results from economic science, like: "if we increase VAT by 1%, everybody will have a better life". Or: "TTIP will be good for the european economy". Yeah, I know, the real result will be reports and papers and documents with lots of numbers and lots of detail and lots of predictions.. Very exact. Except that the results will always be different from what economists have predicted.

    Some sciences study the past. That's fine. But just because it is science, that doesn't mean that those sciences can predict the future. Look at historians. That's a science taught at a university. (At least in my language in my country). Historians know everything about the past. But if they have to predict the future, they will be just as good at it as you or me. I feel that economy on a large scale is a bit like that. You might know everything about the past, but next week is a different story.

    That is why I think all these "economic facts" have a lot less meaning in the discussion about the EU. We don't know how the EU countries would have done the last decades without EU. Nor do we know how they will do in the future, regardless of whether some countries are in or out.

  5. #155
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: The Spiraling Sea

  6. #156
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    "Clips taken from Brexit: The Movie - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTMxf...

    Statistics from Dan Hannan's book - Why Vote Leave"

    Gryz, all you seem to be saying is that you don't trust stats (and don't think the difference between biology and physics is worth mentioning...) and part of this is there are 'lots of numbers'. I dunno if that makes for much of an argument.

  7. #157
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Wait, we're on the level of Alex Jones style of conspiracy propaganda now?

  8. #158
    New Member
    Registered: Jun 2016
    "The only people who believe in infinite growth in a finite world are madmen and economists"

    Economic models and chaos theory modelling can only take you so far, as Greenspan and Gordon Brown found out in 2008 after predicting the end of economic boom and bust.

  9. #159
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivian View Post
    Gryz, all you seem to be saying is that you don't trust stats (and don't think the difference between biology and physics is worth mentioning...) and part of this is there are 'lots of numbers'. I dunno if that makes for much of an argument.
    I don't trust people.
    And I also don't trust numbers that are presented by people and interpreted by people to justify people's opinions and actions.

    Again, the point I am trying to make is: the pro-EU camp mainly seems to want to stay in the EU because of economic reasons. They think they can make a bit more money. By giving up their autonomy, their democracy, their own laws, their own constitution, their own borders, their own future. My 2 counter points are: 1) those numbers are meaningless, because you can interpret them in all kinds of ways. Fact is that we don't know what impact staying or leaving the EU will have. It's a gamble both ways. 2) even if people would make a bit more money because of the EU, in my opinion it is not worth the downsides.

  10. #160
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryzemuis View Post
    They think they can make a bit more money. By giving up their autonomy, their democracy, their own laws, their own constitution, their own borders, their own future.
    What constitution?

  11. #161
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    No, I want to stay in because the downsides to staying that you are talking about are pretty much all fantasy. So I would need good reasons to leave, and I haven't heard any yet. You are simplifying the opposing viewpoint into something you can defeat.

  12. #162
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryzemuis View Post
    We all know the saying: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
    "We all know the saying" ?!

    I also know the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but that doesn't mean we need to replace modern medicine with orchard fruit.
    I am a professional scientist, as is Vivian (and he's arguably a way better one than I am) - and I can tell you that science IS statistics.
    You simply can not separate real world effects from ambient variation without the use of the statistics. You can't just massage the numbers, because if you do, a statistician will identify this! This is why auditing exists FFS.

    If we seem naive, it's only because you literally can't see an entire level of detail to this debate, so you think a pithy diatribe by a career Eurosceptic at the University of Oxford constitutes the breadth of the issues with the EU.

    You're part of the problem - this surging wave of people who think all expertise is inherently untrustworthy, so we should pick the people who agree with our biases and ignore all resort to facts.

  13. #163
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryzemuis View Post
    Fact is that we don't know what impact staying or leaving the EU will have. It's a gamble both ways.
    I don't see how the 'no change' option is a gamble.

  14. #164
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    As far as I am concerned, the whole debate for Leave was adequately summed up by Demagogue early in the thread: Real costs, imaginary benefits.
    Generic Euroscepticism aside, I've yet to hear anything which derogates from that basic model.
    Last edited by faetal; 22nd Jun 2016 at 08:21.

  15. #165
    New Member
    Registered: Jun 2016
    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    Benjamin Franklin

  16. #166
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    "Those who would confuse themselves as to what they're arguing about deserve to be ignored"

    Vivian

  17. #167
    New Member
    Registered: Jun 2016
    I'm not arguing for anything. I won't make up my mind up until the moment I go to the polling booth and put pen to paper.

  18. #168
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Neb View Post
    I don't see how the 'no change' option is a gamble.
    Because the last 8 years have been so great ?
    Because the future looks so great ?

  19. #169
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    Quote Originally Posted by dickturpin23 View Post
    I'm not arguing for anything. I won't make up my mind up until the moment I go to the polling booth and put pen to paper.
    You WERE quoting something that suggested our liberty is at stake though, which is fucking ridiculous.

  20. #170
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    You're part of the problem - this surging wave of people who think all expertise is inherently untrustworthy, so we should pick the people who agree with our biases and ignore all resort to facts.
    I don't think all expertise is untrustworthy. And I don't distrust science. I consider myself a man of reason (as opposed to being a man of emotions).

    But if you want me to believe all science reports, just because the guy who wrote it calls himself a scientist, then you won't succeed. I've become very skeptical of people with self-proclaimed authority, or even self-proclaimed expertise. Because there are many people who are not honest. Or are just wrong. Or are just too dumb. Also in science.

    So science IS statistics ? I don't agree. My field of expertise (computer science) does not use statistics to figure things out. We measure things. To find the truth. To learn how things work. But we don't do much statistics. Applied science might use statistics to prove things. But e.g. math does not. Math says "1+1=2". It does not say "1+1 is on average 2".

    And about the worth of statistics. Do you claim that all fields of science have the same success in predicting things ? Imho if a field of science can not predict things, it's a different science than math, physics, chemistry, etc. Such fields of science might be nice to understand things that have happened in the past. But they're a lot less useful to predict the future.

  21. #171
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivian View Post
    You WERE quoting something that suggested our liberty is at stake though, which is fucking ridiculous.
    The quote was a bit out of context here, I agree.
    But parts of our liberty are at stake. Maybe we've lost them already. I'm sure you disagree, I'm sure you don't mind. But some people do. Tomorrow we'll find out if that the majority in the UK do mind.

    (PS, I think the UK will stay in the EU. Too bad).

  22. #172
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Location: London / London / London
    Gryz, anything that deals with natural, complex systems absolutely has to use stats. That includes physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, etc. It's because there are always horrible unknowns that you cannot measure or include in your models. Saying that you, as someone who basically just deals with number systems (not to deride computer science, it's a great field, but it deals with artificially created systems, not natural ones), can get absolutely correct answers and therefore so should everyone else is really silly. I mean how strong is a piece of steel? What's the resistance or whatever of a film of silicon of a certain thickness? These things can be measured and predicted based on a large enough sample size and theoretical modelling, but only up to a certain degree of certainty. And thats where stats comes in - 'based on a sample of (whatever number of steel bits) I conclude that there is a 99% chance this steel thing will take a load of (some number)'. You can't say for certain because the absolute load that steel thing will take will depend on its purity, ambient temperature, size and arrangement of crystals within it, precision of load application, minor shape deviations, etc etc etc. That's how things work.

    Economics is an extremely complex system involving large numbers of intelligent and hard-to-predict agents (us) interacting with an extremely large parameter space. There's a lot of unknowns, so confidence margins are correspondingly wide, I imagine. It's still a field worth pursuing, I mean it's basically given us the modern world after all...

    Also, I have a friend working on quantum computers, where you are stuck with statements like '1+1 is on average 2' (as far as I can follow, it's hard stuff, oof). What's your opinion on that? Those guys are within your field.

  23. #173
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Well if you haven't heard yet, Clarkson & May are Remainers. Out of Top Gear but still In Europe. There's gotta be a punchline in that somewhere.

  24. #174
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Of course you are right in what you say. Numbers and statistics are hugely important in science. I don't disagree. But in the examples you mention, strength of steel, even quantum computing, are examples where you can not only measure, but you can also control the test environment. You can limit the amount of parameters. You can repeat your tests. And after a while, you can predict what will happen with X under circumstances Y and Z.

    I don't think that is true for economics. Not the part of economics that tries to understand and predict stuff on a global scale in the real world. And even if some people could, I don't think they will be honest. If you can truly predict economics, you can get filthy rich very quickly. Lots of people try, for decades. And very very few succeeded in really predicting economics. (And even then, I would say it is statistically more likely those were just lucky, in stead of really knowing).

    And the relevancy here is, that the pro-EU camp keeps repeating: "without the EU, we'll make less money". And for me, that is not a fact.


    And even then, what is good "for the economy" is that good for me too ?
    I'll give you another example.

    Since the introduction of the euro, interest rates have fallen to almost zero percent.
    This has a huge negative impact on me. I made a nice sum of money in the nineties. I don't have a wife and kids, I don't spend a lot of money, so that sum of money could have been enough for me to live and not work for a long time. In fact, I took a sabbatical of 14 years. Now I am back to work. If the interest rate had been 5-6% as it was in 2002, I might have not had to work for the rest of my life. But with 0% interest, significant inflation, and a yearly 1.2% tax, I would not have made it to 67 years old. So I went back to work. This fact, the zero interest strategy of the European bank or EU or whomever is responsible, has the biggest impact on my life of anything political to do with the EU.

    Am I being selfish, and do I look only after my own interests ?
    Nope, I don't think so.
    People have pensions. Pay now, your invested money grows over the years, and when you retire, you have a nice pension. That only works if money actually accumulates through investment and interests. And currently it doesn't. All our pension-funds have big problems. And the paid pensions are occasionally dropping here and there. This impacts most middle-class people (and some lower-class maybe too, if they are lucky to have a decent pension).
    Now from what I've heard, the Dutch are a nation where people on average have pretty good pension plans. We've got the best pensions of any country in the EU. And our pension-funds are pretty big. Maybe other countries don't care if pensions get fucked. I don't know. (Another fact, I've read (a few years ago) that the EU is looking at our fat pension-funds with a greedy eye. They're trying to find ways to release that money from those funds and use it for different purposes. I don't have any links, and I can't remember the details. But I believe it to be true. Our own government in the nineties pulled a similar stunt).

    So to get back to "facts".
    When presenting "facts" about the EU and the economy, you can show e.g. numbers how local economies grew 2% per year since 2002. Or whatever. And then conveniently leaving out the fact that our pensions are under great risk. Without that detail, the 2% per year might look great. (Even without knowing if you, as an individual, will see any of that extra money). But if you add the fact you might get a significant lower pension, that 2% might look a lot worse.

  25. #175
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: uk
    Quote Originally Posted by Neb View Post
    I don't see how the 'no change' option is a gamble.
    It's certainly less of one, you've got a fair idea which direction everything is going in but not the details. I wouldn't say it's "no change" so much as "more of the same change".

    Certainly in the short term leave is a comparatively massive gamble on whatever shape the government of the UK is after they've finished stabbing each other in the back managing to behave like adults.

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