My rude heuristics

People often try to overwhelm you with facts, theories, and statements. It is easy to just pour them until the opponent gives up.

I made up this heuristics, and I’ve used it for some time. It probably isn’t original and I’m certain others have made better systems, but this is working for me.

  1. Did it really happen?
  2. Can it be caused by what you say?
  3. What is the probability that it was caused by something else?

The first one is usually enough. Can they prove their claims. Most people with outrageous claims can’t.

The second is that you have to be able to represent a justified theory of how X can really be caused by A. Usually it involves other statements, where you should recursively apply the first criterion did it really happen.

The third one is what I call Bayesian step. How probable it is that it wasn’t caused by something else? You have to find the alternative explanations and evaluate them too. Very often it is just statistical noise.

The point in using this is that if it doesn’t pass (or if any part of it doesn’t pass) the previous step, you shouldn’t bother thinking about the second. If something doesn’t exist, there is no reason to waste your time thinking of what caused it.

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