The process of seeking out good explanations is error correcting. It is tolerant of dissent with a healthy dose of skepticism and distrust of authority. It means that explanations are rejected when they are contradicted by better explanations.
- Error correction in science can take some time as outdated scientific studies can perpetuate for years
- The Beginning of Infinity
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For new knowledge to be created, there needs to be an error correcting mechanism. This makes it the most important knowledge for progress and innovation.
The real world and it’s behaviors are extraordinarily complex. To theorize and create good explanations necessarily requires some encapsulation of ideas through abstractions. It is possible to understand a phenomena by understanding abstractions and similarly, it is possible to create new explanations by building on top of them.
A popular view of the environment, “Spaceship Earth”, is that the planet provides just the right biosphere to support human life. That is misleading because humans are actually ill suited to living in most places. Take for example living in New York—you would freeze to death come winter if not for shelter, clothing, access to clean water, and food. This is technology that humans created to transform inhospitable environments into systems that support human life.
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.
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?