To Derp is to Die

In June 2013, Noah Smith officially defined the term "derp", which had been gaining currency in the economics blogosphere and on Twitter, as "the constant, repetitive reiteration of strong priors". For those unfamiliar with the term "prior" (which is a technical term in Bayesian statistics), the definition simply states that to derp is to respond to new information by restating your most basic beliefs, usually very forcefully in the form of pet slogans or catchphrases, instead of thoughtfully updating your beliefs. Rather appropriately, when I first encountered the term, I didn't like it, but then I reconsidered and decided I really liked it. On the Internet, to derp is to die (even though it can get you lots of followers, you die intellectually). So here is a short introduction.

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