Thursday, 16 September 2010

The many-coloured flag of beliefs

On her new blog (welcome!) the warmist, lukewarmer, skeptic, confusionist, notorious denier and anti-labelist Professor Judith Curry has come up with a system of describing ones belief in a certain proposition using the Italian flag.

The flag has three colours and each colour has a specific meaning. Green means Evidence for, red means Evidence against and the white in the middle means Uncertainty unknowns. Now one can describe ones belief in a certain proposition by assigning percentages to each colour. For instance, to the litmus test statement "Al Gore is fat" I give 90% green, 5% white and 5% red (as a hypothetical example).
Unfortunately, the system proposed by Curry is both imprecise and confusing. Therefore I would like to propose a better system, based on the combined flags of Belgium, Italy, France, Ireland and Argentina:

With this new flag we can enrichen Prof Curry's epistemic system with more categories of beliefs, such as the following (all inspired by things Prof Curry have written or said):

  • Black: Evidence for
  • Dark blue: Evidence against
  • Green: Uncertainty unknowns
  • White: It is a summary, a sort of review. I don’t bring my personal opinions into this.
  • Yellow: This question has not been adequately evaluated.
  • Orange: Girma, you raise important points.
  • Red: This is a postnormal, tribalistic environment.
  • Light blue: The signal is often hidden by the noise.

So now all we have to do when we are discussing a subject is to display a flag with the widths of the stripes in proportion to how much belief we assign to each possibility. That should make everything much clearer!

De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.


  1. Sledgehammer for the truth16 September 2010 at 16:57

    Goddamn it Baron, you're a peace-maker AND a genius. Just a word of caution though--you're gettin' dangerously close to a United Nations types thing with that flag, might want to tone it back to say, black and white, or even just black.

  2. What's the colour for "we did not read Manabe"?

  3. Baron von Monckhofen17 September 2010 at 03:54

    Dear Roger,
    As prof Curry continues to expand the landscape of epistemic and meta-epistemic possibilities, we may need to start using a colour wheel instead of a flag.


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