[SEQ RERUN] A Fable of Science and Politics

post by jake987722 · 2011-04-26T03:42:25.538Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 10 comments

Today's post, A Fable of Science and Politics was originally published on 23 December 2006. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):

People respond in different ways to clear evidence they're wrong, not always by updating and moving on.

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was "I don't know.", and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.


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comment by jasonmcdowell · 2011-04-26T07:26:40.379Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

At one of my first jobs, the employees in my department wore either blue or green ID badges around our necks.

The blue badges were for the permanent employees (actually employed by the company) and the green badges were for contractors (actually employed by a staffing firm). The permanent employees had health insurance, higher status, company perks and worked on a salary. The contractors were paid by the hour, had lower status, used a time card, had more supervision, and had less flexible scheduling.

At the time, I hadn't heard the story of the Blue and Green Romans, but in undergrad we learned about a psychology experiment on ingroups and outgroups where they divided subjects into Blues and Greens. I found it hilarious that the company had decided to literally label their employees blue and green, as if setting the stage for an us-versus-them experiment.

Replies from: Oscar_Cunningham, Tiiba
comment by Oscar_Cunningham · 2011-04-26T09:12:37.572Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

And...? Did such effects occur?

Replies from: jasonmcdowell
comment by jasonmcdowell · 2011-04-26T09:34:52.025Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Only minor drama of course, but it definitely was not a cohesive group. Sometimes I heard the terms "blue badges" or "green badges" used pejoratively to refer to the different groups generically.

comment by Tiiba · 2011-04-26T17:19:50.408Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm just wondering if you're aware of this post: http://lesswrong.com/lw/lt/the_robbers_cave_experiment/

At first, I thought it's what you're talking about, but realized that the details are different (and kinda cool in a scary way).

comment by steven0461 · 2011-04-26T19:10:36.610Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This must have been said before, but when it's specifically about American politics, the metaphor of "blue versus green" standing for "red versus blue versus green-which-is-more-like-blue-than-like-red" can get pretty confusing. If the phenomenon is so common, surely history has many equally vivid examples.

Replies from: benelliott, gjm
comment by benelliott · 2011-04-26T21:44:33.546Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I prefer that he uses something from completely beyond everyone's daily experience, helps keep the discussion about politics in general and its impact on rationality and away from [insert controversial political issue of the week].

Replies from: steven0461, steven0461
comment by steven0461 · 2011-04-26T22:07:57.757Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Just to be clear, I agree; I was complaining about this specific metaphor applied to the specific domain that I mentioned.

comment by steven0461 · 2011-04-26T22:05:32.830Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I was complaining about this metaphor, not metaphors generally.

comment by gjm · 2011-04-26T19:55:17.754Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Who said it's specifically about American politics? It isn't even specifically about politics.

Replies from: steven0461
comment by steven0461 · 2011-04-26T19:57:12.169Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hence "when". I'd say that when the metaphor is used here, more than 10% of the time it's about American politics.