Today's post, Burdensome Details was originally published on 20 September 2007. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


If you want to avoid the conjunction fallacy, you must try to feel a stronger emotional impact from Occam's Razor. Each additional detail added to a claim must feel as though it is driving the probability of the claim down towards zero.

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments to the original post).

This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Conjunction Controversy (Or, How They Nail It Down), and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.

New Comment
1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 3:36 AM

One possibility is that our intuitive sense of 'is this statement likely to be true' is developed to detect lies by other human beings, rather than to simulate the external world.

For example if someone is trying to convince you of a tribe members bad behaviour, the ability to produce extra details (time/location/etc) makes it more plausible they are truthful rather than lying. However in probability terms each extra detail makes it less likely (e.g. 'probability of bad behaviour' 'probability of doing it in location x etc).

[Cross-posted in the original thread]

New to LessWrong?