Adding Up to Normality

"It all adds up to normality" is a common phrase used on LessWrong (also known here as Egan's law[1]). Adding Up to Normality is the property of an explanation which adds to our understanding without changing what we already know to be true. for example:

  • Apples didn't stop falling when General Relativity supplanted Newtonian mechanics.
  • As counterintuitive as quantum mechanics is, it all adds up to what we see in everyday life - It's perfectly normal, and it always has been.

The purpose of a theory is to add up to observed reality. Science sets out to answer the question "What adds up to normality?" and the answer turns out to be "Quantum mechanics adds up to normality" or "General Relativity adds up to normality".

A weaker extension of this principle applies to ethical and metaethical debates, which generally ought to end up explaining why you shouldn't eat babies, rather than why you should....

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