Parochial Errors Happen When You Have a Narrow View

A parochial error happens when you falsely believe that something in your narrow view of the world applies more broadly than it does. For example, thinking the seasons everywhere around the earth in the same way as your home town because that’s what you personally experience.

Pursuing good explanations would help correct parochial errors because good explanations are hard to vary. You could refute the explanation that the seasons are the same everywhere right away after meeting someone from Australia and then search for a better explanation to correct the error.

See also:

  • Zeno’s Mistake

    It’s a mistake when confusing an abstract process with a real-world process of the same name. An example from The Beginning of Infinity is the study of decision making. The assumptions that are built into their models are a simplified version of actual real-world decision making because there is not a good explanation of how it works in reality.

  • Utopians Are Defined by Their Pessimism

    Visionaries pushing some form of utopia are defined by their pessimism. Their belief that utopia can be achieved means they don’t believe things could ever get better, nor their idea of what is best. Unless new knowledge stops being created and all relevant knowledge is known, utopians exhibit the same parochial error as someone who believes the sun revolves around the Earth.

  • Using Tools for Thought as a Founder

    This is a reflection on using org-roam as a founder in the early stages of starting a company. It’s mostly a draft that I may or may not come back to.

  • Reductionists View High-Level Behavior as Consisting of Lower-Level Behavior Only

    The reductionist view of science is that all high-level behavior consists of the underlying lower-level behavior and should be analyzed into components to fully understand. However, good explanations can be self-contained and sufficient without needing an explanation of every low-level detail. For example, you can have a theory of how water boils that doesn’t need to predict movement of individual atoms.

  • The Anthropic Principle Says the Universe Is the Way That it Is Because We Exist

    The fact that humans exist with the capacity to observe and theorize about the universe is the explanation for the universe being the way that it is. The physics that creates the preconditions for intelligent life means that intelligent life could only ever observe this kind of universe. If other universes don’t support intelligent life, they will have different physics from our universe and, potentially, our physics is universal to intelligent life.

  • Remote Work Requires Trust

    Some of the biggest criticism of the remote work movement is that people aren’t actually doing work. There are several flavors of this: working in your pajamas, not doing real work, or, the most sinister, that the company culture will suffer. This fails closer inspection immediately.

  • Techno-Optimism Is Rational

    Techno-optimists believe technology can solve the world’s most pressing problems. With the right knowledge, we can find solutions to climate change like abundant clean energy. Can we acquire the knowledge to build nuclear fusion reactors? Can we do it in time?