What do you think the relation between the mental category of “certainty” and probability is?

For the primitive it is not true that “the sun will rise with 100% certainty”—it is simply “certain that the sun will rise.” What’s more, I think these statements are -not equivalent-.

For the “educated westerner” it is true that “the sun will rise with certainty very close to 100%, given some assumptions about the nature of the universe in earth’s neighborhood.” Certainty is not a necessity any longer.

My claim would be that, for most, heuristic descriptions of possibility/probability and an understanding of the mathematical laws or probability are absolutely disjoint. The reason that you can even think about low probability events is not mere knowledge—you must actually switch the context in which you are framing the problem—you must “step back” and examine the lottery in the context of theory in which you (rightly) believe.

What I’m saying here is that arguing against -heuristic descriptions- with -actual probabilities- (even if just approximations) is like arguing against a shaman’s perception of the weather with modern supercomputer-driven approximations. You have to consider that people have an investment in their heuristic descriptions—to leave them would be like to leave a nice warm place which makes you happy (most of the time) but might have some nagging problems (e.g. playing the lottery).

What do you think the relation between the mental category of “certainty” and probability is?

For the primitive it is not true that “the sun will rise with 100% certainty”—it is simply “certain that the sun will rise.” What’s more, I think these statements are -not equivalent-.

For the “educated westerner” it is true that “the sun will rise with certainty very close to 100%, given some assumptions about the nature of the universe in earth’s neighborhood.” Certainty is not a necessity any longer.

My claim would be that, for most, heuristic descriptions of possibility/probability and an understanding of the mathematical laws or probability are absolutely disjoint. The reason that you can even think about low probability events is not mere knowledge—you must actually switch the context in which you are framing the problem—you must “step back” and examine the lottery in the context of theory in which you (rightly) believe.

What I’m saying here is that arguing against -heuristic descriptions- with -actual probabilities- (even if just approximations) is like arguing against a shaman’s perception of the weather with modern supercomputer-driven approximations. You have to consider that people have an investment in their heuristic descriptions—to leave them would be like to leave a nice warm place which makes you happy (most of the time) but might have some nagging problems (e.g. playing the lottery).

Ya dig?