Do we kid ourselves about the reality of seeing patterns in our experience? Are our assumptions about the ability to transfer knowledge from one situation to another weaker than we believe?

Michael Blastland, author of The Hidden Half: Unseen Factors That Affect Everything, This episode features host Russ Roberts in a discussion about the reality of how much we don’t know and the importance of knowing what we don’t know. Experts’ overconfidence in development aid initiatives like “new” toilets in India has backfired, while other “solutions” have been disastrous. Perhaps you will reflect with us on how our own understanding is often imperfect and why this keeps life exciting! We love to hear your thoughts.



1- There is you Faced with a recent challenge to a personally settled assumption based on a worldview? Was it hard to realize you were wrong? Explained.


2- In his story about genetics and environment experiments with crayfish in Germany, how does Blastland conclude that a third factor creates The hidden half? If science misses recognition of the “huge range of uncertainty because it is unpredictable,” should the book’s title be changed to The Hidden Three-Quarters or More?


3- What point does Roberts make about the blaststand difference? The hidden half On the randomness view and FA Hayek’s view of variation in behavior mThis is the pretense of knowledge?


4- Drug efficacy studies do not inform us about how drugs may or may not work on an individual. What are other examples of how we tend to confuse probability results with discrete outcomes?


5- Nobel Prize winner Esther Duflo emphasized that knowledge of relevant details is as important as great ideas in economic development. How do aid disruption stories complicate the weakest link theory?



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