[SEQ RERUN] Conjunction Controversy (Or, How They Nail It Down)

by MinibearRex1 min read3rd Sep 20114 comments

7

Personal Blog

Today's post, Conjunction Controversy (Or, How They Nail It Down) was originally published on 20 September 2007. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):

When it seems like an experiment that's been cited does not provide enough support for the interpretation given, remember that Scientists are generally pretty smart. Especially if the experiment was done a long time ago, or it is described as "classic" or "famous". In that case, you should consider the possibility that there is more evidence that you haven't seen. Instead of saying "This experiment could also be interpreted in this way", ask "How did they distinguish this interpretation from ________________?"


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 Fallacy, 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.

4 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 8:29 AM
New Comment

When it seems like an experiment that's been cited does not provide enough support for the interpretation given, remember that Scientists are generally pretty smart. Especially if the experiment was done a long time ago, or it is described as "classic" or "famous". In that case, you should consider the possibility that there is more evidence that you haven't seen.

This is a potentially dangerous assumption. There are cases of entire scientific fields being derailed for significant periods of time because everyone assumed that and hence no one bothered to check.

You're not supposed to assume it. You're supposed to "consider the possibility". You know, google it or something (and, the implicit message is that you should do that before accusing Eliezer of leaping to a conclusion based on incomplete evidence).

I discussed a few days ago a few upcoming posts that do not have summaries yet. jsalvatier I know did at least two, and Oscar Cunningham summarized one, although neither has publicly commented about it yet. We do still have The Bottom Line, What Evidence Filtered Evidence?, Recommended Rationalist Reading, and A Rational Argument that need summaries, and we should be completely clear for a couple of weeks. Anyone want to volunteer?

I've now done them all apart from The Bottom Line, which I can't think of a way to summarise. (If anyone has a summary for it, just post it as a reply to this comment. Save you the trivial inconvenience of getting a wiki account.)