Thursday, December 12, 2013

Multi-causal problems almost always have multi-causal solutions

From Seven Deadly Sins of Science Reporting by Avi Roy & Anders Sandberg. My summary.

1) Nothing is ever proven - You can only provide information that increases the probability that the argument is correct.

2) Nothing is in itself inherently bad - It is all about proportionality. Everything is deadly when too concentrated and everything is safe when sufficiently dilute.

3) There are no silver bullets - Multi-causal problems almost always have multi-causal solutions.

4) Personal behavioral traits cannot be sourced to your genes - There are no behaviors associated with single genes.

5) Simple actions trump simple solutions - Longevity is contextually determined. Not smoking, exercising, sleeping regularly, eating balanced and moderate meals and positive mental attitude outweigh the effect of drinking red wine, practicing yoga, eating fish, etc.

6) Past performance does not predict future outcomes - A study from a prestigious university is only as good as the quality of the study, not the prestige of the university.

7) The plausibility of a story is not necessarily correlated with the truthfulness of the story - Simple explanations of complex problems are also wrong explanations.

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