Atheism Isn't Popular
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29-07-2013, 07:49 AM
RE: Atheism Isn't Popular
Quote:Since launching, this has sparked up some discussion as to how it all works. Well, you can understand that I don’t want to disclose too much of the ‘algorithm’ of the site. However: basically it searches based on associative (so far just English) sentences. The given search term is used in these sentences which are then sent off to the various search engines, counting the amount of results returned. (Sentences are double quoted before they are sent off, so as to make sure the search-engines search for occurrences of the *whole* sentence).

This, of course, produces questionable results which should not be taken very seriously. However, the more results (hits) returned, the more reliable these results can become. Do a search for George Bush and then Barack Obama, and you’ll see that the internet is certainly not far off – or perhaps even in-sync – with the result you had in mind.

My advice would be to do 10 ‘obvious’ searches, of which you are almost certain of the results, based on your perception of general opinion (e.g. ‘beer’, ‘sex’, ‘sleeping’, etc.) and then do 10 less obvious searches. If the first 10 convince you of even the slightest accuracy, the second 10 will perhaps be not as random as you thought.

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29-07-2013, 08:12 AM
RE: Atheism Isn't Popular
Huh... I decided today to look up a few things, two of them being TV shows, Suits and Lost.

How do I know how much of the outcome refers to the actual shows and not just the article of clothing and the state of being lost?

With out knowing the behind-the-scenes working of this site, I'm not sure how much weight I'd put on anything from it.

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29-07-2013, 10:45 AM
RE: Atheism Isn't Popular
(29-07-2013 06:09 AM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(29-07-2013 05:46 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  It's a good idea to be skeptical. The results aren't necessarily accurate, but they are objective. The method used to collect them isn't random. I wouldn't quote them as poll results, but they're not useless, either.

Actually, to me they are entirely useless. They simply gather data on search engine queries. No algorithm can accurately gauge the context or the reasoning as to why the search query was made. The very fact that they won't disclose their data gathering methods in-depth is stupendously discreditable. It ignores too many factors and makes great assumptions. Accurate statistical investigations make the questions they asked and their method for information gathering publicly known. As I said, take this website and its percentiles with a grain of salt. A very, very, very tiny grain of salt.

While on the one hand you are claiming that "no algorithm can accurately gauge the context or the reasoning as to why the search query was made", on the other hand you seem to have references to an algorithm that makes the results "entirely useless". Are you aware that, without any means of calibrating these results, you've done so while simultaneously insulting anyone who disagrees?

Being a good skeptic isn't the same as being dismissive. A good skeptic wants further evidence, not further reasons to ignore results. You haven't come to a non-belief in the results, but a belief that they are mistaken. Again, I like a skeptical approach to the results, but I don't understand why you've taken such a firm stance against even the possibility that they could be right.

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29-07-2013, 11:04 AM
RE: Atheism Isn't Popular
(29-07-2013 10:45 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  While on the one hand you are claiming that "no algorithm can accurately gauge the context or the reasoning as to why the search query was made", on the other hand you seem to have references to an algorithm that makes the results "entirely useless". Are you aware that, without any means of calibrating these results, you've done so while simultaneously insulting anyone who disagrees?

I have stated that the information he has currently given about the structure and procedure of the algorithm is inaccurate and, to me, makes the findings completely useless. These statistics are not verifiable and one cannot discern popular opinion from them without making illogical leaps. If you want to feel offended by something not even remotely insulting, feel free to.

(29-07-2013 10:45 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  Being a good skeptic isn't the same as being dismissive. A good skeptic wants further evidence, not further reasons to ignore results. You haven't come to a non-belief in the results, but a belief that they are mistaken. Again, I like a skeptical approach to the results, but I don't understand why you've taken such a firm stance against even the possibility that they could be right.

Being a good skeptic is about finding better-constructed experiments with far more accurate results, no matter what we want to believe. This site's methods are barely even known to the public. It is like reading a research paper without any citations. Like a Pew pole without the specific questions labeled so as to understand the nature of the answer. This site and its statistics should not be taken seriously. At all.

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