Statistics, Lies and Truth in the Post-fact World

Panel event in the 2017 Festival of Economics at Bristol, chaired by Prof Alvin Birdi of the the University of Bristol

  1. Attending @FestivalofIdeas. Great talks, communicated fantastically and real sense that top class speakers believe we need to re-examine economics profession. Hope no one notices my qualifications are all in crayon.
  2. Now starting at #economicsfest "Statistics, Lies and Truth in the Post-fact World" chaired by Alvin Birdi, with Matt Dickson, Gloria Origgi, Felix Ritchie and Hetan Shah.
  3. At "Bristol Festival of Economics 2017: Statistics, Lies and Truth in the Post-fact World" #economicsfest
    At "Bristol Festival of Economics 2017: Statistics, Lies and Truth in the Post-fact World" #economicsfest
  4. Very glad that this #esrcfestival talk on post-truth has @gloriaoriggi on it. International perspectives so important.
  5. Great to be back at @FestivalofIdeas - @gloriaoriggi on the panel.  First UK copies of her @PrincetonUPress book ‘Reputation’ on sale here.
    Great to be back at @FestivalofIdeas - @gloriaoriggi on the panel. First UK copies of her @PrincetonUPress book ‘Reputation’ on sale here.
  6. Strong no jargon rule at #economicsfest - chair Alvin Birdi of @economics_net reminds the post-truth & stats panel. ‘Ontology’ is right out
  7. @gloriaoriggi First speaker asks "why does the truth not seem to matter so much now". Interesting to hear that "objective truth has been fading out of the world" has long been moaned about. I doubt there was ever objective truth in politics.
  8. .@mattdickson__ points to a raft of scandals that have undermined the respect for objectivity of institutions. Politicians have long spun or lied but post-truth era is a step change in attitudes to reality. #economicsfest
  9. Yep. Fantastic. @gloriaoriggi straight and says "are we in a post-truth world? Do we have any statistics" -- she's not convinced, and neither am I.
  10. @PolicyBristol Is objective truth fading out of the world, or are we just living in a very information-dense world? @FestivalofIdeas
  11. Do we know how much fake news there is? Gloria Origgi doubts there was ever a golden age of truth; but we can’t cope with info-dense society #economicsfest
  12. .@gloriaoriggi points to the explosion of data and the potential for information overload. Makes reputation and trust networks more important than ever. #economicsfest
  13. @gloriaoriggi "we haven't lost touch with the truth, but with the systems of authority, for judging reputation" > bingo.
  14. @PolicyBristol Brilliant analogy - using information is like choosing wine, choose based on factors that make up the reputation: grape, price region @FestivalofIdeas
  15. Next speaker asks if knife crime is a problem. Uses UK national stats. Yeah, I live in South Birmingham not the UK. So I'm not engaging.
  16. Isn't it paradoxical that "the big data era" and "the post-truth era" coincide? Asks @gloriaoriggi brilliantly at the Bristol @FestivalofIdeas. Great panel. #festivalofideas
    Isn't it paradoxical that "the big data era" and "the post-truth era" coincide? Asks @gloriaoriggi brilliantly at the Bristol @FestivalofIdeas. Great panel. #festivalofideas
  17. .@felix_ritchie: people have long been resistant to facts and keen to interpret information I terms of their cherished narratives. Part of human psychology, not a new phenomenon. #economicsfest
  18. My followers will see that I have little, and falling, faith in the old systems of authority. And I think that's a good thing. The old systems were crap. #esrcfestival 
  19. UK unique in having @UKStatsAuth to tell people off for misuse of statistics, says @HetanShah #economicsfest
  20. Subscribe to a newspaper if you care about truth, says @HetanShah #economicsfest
  21. .@henanshah tells us one action we can take to oppose post-truth and support journalism: take up a newspaper subscription #economicsfest
  22. @PolicyBristol @FestivalofIdeas Top tips from royal stats association: - academics need to get more (and share their expertise) - all need to foster statistical literacy - subscribe to a newspaper to support good journalism @FestivalofIdeas
  23. Regions are right to distrust London-centric policies, says @HetanShah - namechecking @thomasforth (Welcome to #economicsfest Tom)
  24. Last up is @HetanShah who obviously I completely agree with because he mostly agrees with me. #esrcfestival
  25. Oh yaaaaaaaaas, shout out to this lady at #esrcfestival -- who I slightly paraphrase -- "isn't 'post-truth' just the establishment/media trying to discredit new people who are disrupting them?".
  26. Challenging questions on ‘post-truth’ incl is it an elite term itself? & is it linked to demand for policy-based evidence? #economicsfest
  27. Audience point: aren't establishment media part of the problem with post-truth? #economicsfest
  28. If you like this section of #esrcfestival I suggest listening to This Week in Google podcast with @jeffjarvis who says and is challenged on the same topic almost every week. Us "STEMlords" think about this a lot.
  29. Origgi: the near-monopoly positions of Facebook, Google etc. are dangers to the intellectual sphere. We need diversity. #economicsfest
  30. ResFortnight: RT econromesh: Academics can provide weapons for the fight against fake news, HetanShah ResFortnight, #economicsfest #PostTruth 
  31. "Evidence-based policy" is a tongue-twister. Careful not to say (or enact) the reverse! #economicsfest
  32. Interesting that low-pay commission given as an example of good evidence-led policy. I fear it was part of the problem. Should we have had a single national level in such an unequal country? #esrcfestival
  33. Origgi: rather than "rational" or "irrational" we should think of people as strategic, emotional, having complex motivations not just a dispassionate search for information. #economicsfest
  34. The problem with telling people to combat fake news by Learning political science skills is that political scientists also spread fake news. Statisticians also lie. Bias depends on who benefits. @FestivalofIdeas
  35. Bold use of the #economicsfest panel from a student in the room: "I have an essay due soon. Can the panel say..."
  36. Anyone who’s worked in government knows need to balance evidence-based policy & saving face for politicians, says @felix_ritchie #economicsfest
  37. Hahaha. I've mistagged the whole of this economics festival thing because the hashtag closest to stage is an advert for another event. Soz @FestivalofIdeas
  38. Shah: disinformation can succeed even when it itself is not credible, because it confuses and undermines credibility of the whole issue. #economicsfest
  39. That's my kind of audience - hope for this at my 4th Industrial Revolution panel on Saturday #economicsfest 
  40. I didn't know why I did this, but @gloriaoriggi talking about reputation at #economicsfest explained it. It's all about reputation.