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Anecdotal evidence is often the best evidence
Anyone who ever had any interest in science will know that anecdotal evidence is the worst type of evidence possible. This is what scientists and science teachers repeatedly tell their audience.
But is this statement true? If you have a look at the subject matter closely, it doesn't appear to be so.
There are many situations where anecdotal evidence is the best evidence possible. In fact, even the most hardcore scientists use it regularly for very important life decisions.
There are certain aspects of reality that are extremely hard to research scientifically. And there are those aspects of reality that the mainstream science refuses to research. For both of those, anecdotal evidence is the only evidence available.
On the other hand, there are areas of science that deem anecdotal evidence perfectly acceptable. And there is an important reason for it - those branches of science would cease to exist otherwise.
In this article, you will find out how anecdotal evidence received its bad reputation and why you shouldn't always trust those people who say it's bad.
Why I won't support anti-human Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion is a group that has recently blocked some streets in London, vandalised some building, caused inconvenience to commuters and got some of its members deliberately arrested. All of this was done in the name of fighting man-made climate change.
As a group, Extinction Rebellion is of opinion that climate change is way bigger than any other problem facing mankind. Bigger than famines. Bigger than wars. Bigger than oppressive dictatorial regimes. And if we don't take an immediate action, we, as species, will go extinct. This is why the movement is called Extinction Rebellion.
However, the reality is precisely the opposite. If all of the "solutions" to the climate change problem that are proposed by Extinction Rebellion are implemented, the chances of us going extinct will increase, not decrease. And there are certainly problems that are way more urgent than climate change.
So, let's have a look what exactly is wrong with the Extinction Rebellion movement.
It's not Capitalism that's the problem
Whenever you watch a news report, you see that the world has many severe problems that cause people to needlessly suffer. Very often, free market, which is commonly referred to as Capitalism, is what is blamed for creating those problems. After all, this is the dominant economic system in the world.
The irony is that, whenever people say that Capitalism is bad, they often do so by posting it on Facebook from their iPhone while having a coffee at Starbucks, none of which would have existed without free market. So, essentially, critics forget about the fact that the economic system that they love to hate is the same system that brought them all their daily comforts and enabled their lifestyle.
Although it is true that a lot human suffering happens under the Capitalist system, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is the Capitalist system that directly causes all of this suffering. Saying that it does is pretty much the same as saying that water is lethal due to the fact that everyone who has ever died used to regularly drink water.
In fact, "water is lethal" statement provides a good example of how manipulative political ideas are pushed. The proponents of a particular idea would first tell you some solid facts that nobody can argue against and then would try to use these facts to express a pseudo-logical conclusion to support their view. As you will see, framing free market as the sole cause of some of the world's problems is one of such pseudo-logical conclusions. In many of such cases, Capitalism per se is not to blame.
Why you shouldn't always trust scientists
Science is, without a doubt, the best methodology available to humankind to figure out how the world works. Every piece of research done within the framework of modern scientific method goes through several rounds of reviews by other specialists in a given field to ensure that all of the work has been done in objective manner and no bias has been introduced. Researchers who don't follow the rules dictated by the modern scientific method quickly lose their reputation and become unemployable within their fields.
This, however, doesn't mean that every scientific research is completely objective from everybody's perspective. And I am not even talking about outright scientific fraud, such as debunked research that concluded that vaccines cause Autism. There are instances where researchers follow all the prescribed rules, but what they present to the public is not how things are in reality. At best, such manipulations of scientific principles does not help anyone outside of the team that did the research and, at worst, it can actually reinforce unhelpful beliefs in the society and reduce quality of many people's lives.
Let's now go into the details to see how such misdeeds happen. I hope that, after reading this, you will know what to look out for and will not be easily manipulated into trusting somebody with perceived objectivity credentials when they are trying to impose some sort of hidden agenda.
I cannot wait for AI to take over
Recently, we have experienced a significant heat wave in England. The temperature soared well above what is normal for June and air stood still for several days. England is not a country where many residential dwellings have any inbuilt air conditioning, so buying a portable fan or an air conditioner was the only option for those who wanted to be comfortable in the scorching heat. The problem was, however, that most of the shops have completely ran out of these appliances in a matter of days. When the stock was finally replenished and prices were put up, the heatwave was over and shops ended up with piles of cooling appliances that nobody wanted to buy any longer.
Remember that selfishness can be healthy and ethical
When I was studying at university, I wanted to become a part of something that would make the world a better place. I didn't want to be yet another cog in a corporate profit-earning machine. This is why I have chosen Environmental Biology as my bachelor's degree and have later chosen Environmental Informatics as masters degree. I wanted to be as altruistic as possible and I despised self-interested people. I was also a practicing Christian. However, since then, I gained more insight into how capitalist economic system actually works and realised that self-interest can be good, depending on the circumstances. Moreover, I am still a Christian and I don't see any conflicts between my believe that selfishness can be good and my Christian beliefs.
Ethical side of tax avoidance
From time to time, news headlines tell us about one of big corporations avoiding a large proportion of its tax liability. More often than not, this applies to tech giants. As Google and Facebook were featured in the headlines for a long time, the tax liability that is avoided by corporations is often referred to as "Google tax".
However, tax avoidance is almost never illegal and often isn't immoral. The key difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance is that tax evasion is strictly illegal and involves deliberate failure to declare some of the income, while tax avoidance work by reducing tax liability via completely legal means. Major companies almost never participate in tax evasion. Also, more often than not, it is not a simple greed that motivates the companies to reduce their tax liabilities, but rather responsibility before the shareholders.
Why you shouldn't worry about technology replacing your job
We are living in the times of ever-accelerating technological progress. For most of the people, it's a good news. Only a few years ago you wouldn't have been able to watch a HD movie on your phone by being on the train on the way to work, or have a free video conversation with people at the other side of the globe. Today's mobile phones are more powerful than desktop PC's were a decade ago.
Despite all this, there are many people who have good reasons to worry about the technology and this includes both the experts and the lay people. The biggest worry isn't the Matrix- or Terminator-style conquest of the world by a hyper-intelligent supercomputer. The biggest worry of all is about being made redundant by the technology. Although this fear is not entirely baseless, I will show you why the reasons to worry are few.
Should I trust online reviews?
The web is saturated with user reviews. Everything is being rated by consumers: food brands, tech products, estate agents and even jobs. This website is not an exception with its dedicated Tech Reviews section.
Online reviews are indeed useful. Before parting with your money or making a life-changing decision, why not have a look at what other users think about a particular product or service? But there are very important things to look out for.
10 biggest lies of tech retailers
Tech retail is not an industry normally associated with lies, unlike insurance and financial industries. Nevertheless, as a former insider, I can assure you that, due to the common practice of imposing strict targets on sales staff, it is very common for the tech retailers to lie to their customers. Below I've listed 10 porky pies that I have heard being used the most.
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