Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Examples of Postdiction

The advocate claims that they accurately predicted an event after the fact, when in fact they did not, or have no evidence that they did.
Also known as hindsight bias, or 20/20 hindsight.

It's also worth mentioning that a good response to a claim of "I always knew", or "I told you so", is: "So what? What's your point? Do you want some kind of medal or certificate or something?"

If they are persistent, a slap in the face* is a good one too. Followed by: "Didn't see that one coming, did you?" (Then followed by running away...)

Other examples:
Parents who claim, after their child was born, that they “just knew it was a boy (or girl)” are most likely guilty of Postdiction. (I also suspect that people are right about the sex of their child about 50% of the time.)
And complete tool Uri Geller claimed to have been the cause of the Sydney Olympic cauldron flame stalling on its journey during the 2000 Olympic Games opening ceremony:
Geller said he had concentrated his mind to make the Olympic flame to get stuck as it was winched to the top of Stadium Australia during the opening ceremony.

He said he was at his home in Sonning-on-Thames near Reading in Britain, when he focused on the flame for 11 minutes as part of his vision of global nuclear disarmament.
Well that worked!
The crown of the Olympic cauldron stalled soon after being lit by Olympic athlete Cathy Freeman and rising out of a pool of water.

After an anxious wait of around three minutes, the cauldron was raised by hydraulic lift to its final position
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* Disclaimer: as per usual, whenever I seemingly advocate the use of violence, it should be taken figuratively; a sad attempt at humour.

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