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Archive for February 19th, 2009

I am reposting this from my other blog

The blog entry is Reason, Gut Feel, Or Faith

This is to add to a previous blog entry in this website: If Critical Thinking Were A Religion.

A lot of religions are faith based. I got surprised when I found out that one was not. Buddhism claims to be logical. Buddha even went to an extent to show how logical he was by instructing the kalamas with what is known now as the Kalama Sutta:  

Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing ;
nor upon rumor ;
nor upon what is in a scripture ;
nor upon tradition
nor upon surmise;
nor upon an axiom;
nor upon specious reasoning;
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over;
nor upon another’s seeming ability;
nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.”
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.’

I find the writing, very nice, concise and direct to the point, something I frankly woulnd’t expect from a religion. Buddhism though did not stop at rationalization, how then would buddha be able to explain his views on the afterlife and even his previous reincarnations. Although the public was urged to test ideas given by faith with logic, it seemed that the more enlightened ones would acquire knowledge from still other sources. 

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citigroup-market-capGot this image from a Bloomberg email. It shows the market capitalization of Citigroup last January 2009 (green circle) compared to its value last 2007 (big blue circle). This shows how much the bank’s value has fallen in just one year.

How many of us would have thought back then that great banks like Citigroup would be less than 10% of their worth a year or two later? How many experts, journalists or economists could have made that forecast? And yet, our media, internet, books, and magazines are inundated with 5-10 year economic and earnings forecasts made by analysts, using probably nothing more than simple look-back regressions on the past.

Here are similar images of other major banks:

banks-market-cap

Scary food for thought.

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