What makes an explanation good enough?

What makes an explanation good enough?

Left: Conspiracy Mem “Pepe Silva”; Wright: Simon Didio at Santa Fe Institute. Credit: Michael Garfield / Santa Fe Institute

“We look at the biggest and most divisive arguments we are making right now,” says Simon Didio, external professor at SFI and professor at Carnegie Mellon University, “We often agree on the facts. We disagree on the explanation . ”

what makes Enough? As a personal matter, people have different answers to this question, and not all of them agree, said Zachary Wojtowicz (Carnegie Mellon), a writer and first author of DADO in Cognitive Sciences recently. The authors use the Bayes rule, a well-known theorem in probability and statistics, to examine what we value in scientific and ethical explanations.

Simplicity is a feature of a good interpretation. In the examples, for example, some people try for a theory of simplicity such as “parsimony,” for example: “What is the smallest program I can write to produce these results?” Others prefer what Wojtowicz and Didio call “co-explanations”, which solve several riddles with an answer, then evaluate the results in light of the new revelations. In naveenbharatics, it often appears as a search for homogeneous theory or mechanisms acting through seemingly heterogeneous patterns.

But the most enchanting simple explanations can collide with complex people who account for the world more fully. Part of the challenge is that explanation and prediction are not the same; Deep learning algorithms can predict with uncharacteristic accuracy in the near future, but cannot interpret the models they produce to do so. “Principles of Everything” may fail to predict the world outside their training data set.

Conspiracy theories are a great example of how the preference for what authors call “co-explanations” can increase. Take Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who was arrested soon after the bombing as he was driving without a license plate with a gun loaded in the passenger seat. People had trouble understanding how a criminal mastermind could be so reckless, and it was easy for some to believe that McVeigh was the sacrificial goat for an elite conspiracy.

“Conspiracy theories are great explanations in many ways,” Didio says. Ignoring the common sense of a domain and, for example, overemphasizing the values ​​associated with “integration”, “where conspiracy theorists have done wrong, often result in a lost beauty.”

By virtue of ignoring true complexity, all answers have value.

“Explanations mesmerize us when they work,” says Deedo, citing James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism as a highly useful explanation that “unites” two invisible forces. But if the same aesthetic dominates, the same attachment can also be misused.

Finally, whoever keeps someone honest, according to DeDeo, is interacting with other people, which constitutes a satisfactory explanation.

Conspiracy theories may seem irrational – but they do meet a basic human need

more information:
Zachary Wojtowicz et al. From probability to probability: how explanatory values ​​apply Bayesian reasoning, Trends in cognitive science (2020). DOI: 10.1016 / j.tics.2020.09.013

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Quotes: Is an explanation good enough? (2021, 14 January) Retrieved 14 January 2021 from

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