Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Let’s simplify the question. How do you differentiate an correct procedure from an incorrect procedure? The correct procedure can be observed to work.



The correct procedure has been observed to work, but not everything that is observed to work is correct. This is particularly true when "correct" still comes with a probability of failure in specific cases.

Explanations need to be tested to verify they are correct. Incorrect explanations delivered authoritatively lead to bad extrapolations, which in turn lead to incorrect procedures. So, if something has been observed to work but an explanation has not been verified, the proper response at the practitioner level is "This tends to work, but we aren't sure why".


> The correct procedure has been observed to work, but not everything that is observed to work is correct.

Procedures are neither correct nor incorrect but rather effective or ineffective. Whether the explanation is correct or incorrect is irrelevant if the procedure is effective. Of course we would prefer to have both the effective procedure and the correct explanation but if we insist on only applying procedures with correct explanations we are not doing the best we can.

So, I would extend the proper response to, "This tends to work, we don't know why, but you should try it."




Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: