Scientific evidence

I have a small quibble with Neil deGrasse* Tyson’s statement in Cosmos:

In science, the only thing that counts is the evidence and the logic of the argument itself

Depending on the scientific pursuit in question, logic may have very much to very little if nothing at all to do with what the evidence shows. Biological research can sometimes fly in the face of logic. In my mind, the relative weight of logic to evidence follows a downward trajectory from physics to chemistry to biology to social and behavioral sciences.

The reason I point this out is that for many individuals not exposed to research or science on a deeper level than grade school and television, science can have the veneer of a logical endeavor. When faced with evidence that seems illogical to some, such as the enduring confusion around evolution, the tendency is to reject it on a basis of logic. So I would rephrase the above statement to say “In science, the only thing that counts is the evidence and that the evidence has been repeatedly and independently verified.”

*deGrasse is a recognized word in my browser’s dictionary

Texas taxes

I’m hopeful that my strategy for arguing my property taxes down works. I noticed that this year the county tax appraisal district almost doubled my land value; my house (improvement) value also went up. Considering home prices in Austin, I didn’t even try to convince them that my improvement value should go down. Instead, I found two empty lots for sale nearby that, when averaging the sales prices as well as averaging the county appraised values, brought my overall property appraised value down below what it was last year. Using they county’s appraised values actually gave me the lower of the two valuations. Here’s hoping they buy my well-reasoned argument.

Hey Bro

I really love MetaFilter sometimes. Not only was the link in the post a well-written and interesting take on communication and relationships, but some very high-quality comments ensued:

Presumably the dialogue isn’t meant to be a panacea, but it seems unlikely to do much when there’s a poisonous subtext to the bad behavior. Given that we assume of others what we know of ourselves, it seems worth thinking about how such a conversation is actually likely to unfold.

So, maybe I should be watching Key and Peele, in addition to reading MetaFilter.

Android mail app and missing Exchange mail folders

It has been very frustrating trying to check work email (Exchange Online / Office365), because I wasn’t getting all of my folders – most importantly my Archive folder where everything goes (Inbox Zero!). I finally found a solution that worked for me and got my folders loading on my Android device, with the stock mail app. Incidentally, I didn’t find a good replacement for the stock mail app, at least for Exchange servers.