# Hanlon’s/Heinlein’s Razor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor

A logical Scalpel. Use with care.

Attributed to a lot of people, almost anon.

## 8 thoughts on “Hanlon’s/Heinlein’s Razor”

1. jerry l krause says:

This helped me a lot to see from where your experiences with computers and computing have brought you to the present. Since the advent of computers it is clear there has developed an culture of computer experts who know the computer cannot think or reason. Garbage in, garbage out. Garbage in is not how the data is organized; it is that data input is basically meaningless to begin with. Spencer made a big deal that temperatures could be measured to thousandths of a degree from space. Relative to the system being studied, a thousandth of a degree is meaningless.

I have yet to see, except for the ones (and there have been more than a few) I have laboriously plotted without the aid of a computer, a graphical display of an actual atmospheric temperature vs. altitude plot even though we theoretically state (reason) that the atmospheric temperature should decrease linearly with decreasing altitude in the troposphere. Such an plot of actual data can usually be seen to be an exception rather than the norm.

It would not be hard to have a computer plot the temperature vs altitude from the data of the regular atmospheric soundings, it is just that it is not commonly done. Why? Only meteorologists and atmospheric scientists can answer that question.

2. The subtle difference between GIGO (where the methodology for the fault is outside of the application) and DIGO (where the fault is inside the application) has caused many a long rabbit hole to be followed.

Check your assumptions first. That’s the only time you get to decide. After that, they are facts.

• jerry l krause says:

Maybe you could help me by listing the assumptions you see that I have made. Is it that meteorologists and atmospheric scientists know, understand, why they do not routinely plot the atmospheric temperature vs.altitude? Or is it that I consider a temperature measured to a thousandths of a degree have no importance in a study of the atmospheric system? Or is it that computer experts do not know that their computers cannot think or reason? Maybe it is the latter because I read about artificial intelligence being a goal of some computer experts. Just as Truzzi wrote: “The scientist who works on a perpetual motion machine may be playing the longest shot of all, and he may be conducting stupid science, but it is not necessarily false or pseudoscience.” The latter portion of this statement is solely an opinion, not an assumption, of a non-scientist who seems not to understand the faith that a scientist must have in their scientific laws to productivity produce progress in their science. Yes, scientists do understand that their scientific laws are not absolute truth but they are all that scientists have to keep them on the straight and narrow until there are reproducible observations which contradict them.

• That was a comment in general, not aimed at your work. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

• jerry l krause says:

Just lost a comment, evidently because I did not notice that my computer had lost contact with the internet when I clicked the post comment bottom. But when I established my computer’s contact with the internet, there was no post comment bottom to click. And I ultimately lost my comment because I did not try to copy it before I tried to post it again. Who was dumb me, the computer, or both? I will try to reproduce what I had written, with which I was quite satisfied.

You have to help me by listing the assumptions I have just made. Was one that meteorologists and atmospheric scientists actually know why that atmospheric temperatures vs altitudes are not routinely plotted? Was one that I considered a thousandth of a degree to be meaningless in the study of the atmospheric system? Was one that I considered there were computer experts who know the computer cannot think or reason? I suspect one could likely be the latter because I have read about efforts to create artificial intelligence with computers.

Truzzi wrote: “The scientist who works on a perpetual motion machine may be playing the longest shot of all, and he may be conducting stupid science, but it is not necessarily false or pseudoscience.” The latter portion of this statement is not an assumption, it is an opinion of a non-scientist. Maybe I am wrong, maybe Truzzi is a scientist, I don’t know.

However, as a practicing scientist, I know that I and other scientists, not necessarily all, recognize that our scientific laws are not absolute truth. But they are all we have to keep us on the straight and narrow until there is until there a reproducible observation which refutes one of these laws. If this were to happen, and it has happened, we need to look back at possible mistakes which created the false scientific law, we must look to the present to study how this changes our present understanding, and we must go forward using this new uncertain information (understanding) to guide us.

3. jerry l krause says:

I was not sure, in this case, whether your short comment was referring to what I had just written. or not. And I thank you for making your comment because I consider it has helped solidify what I believe and try to practice. Jerry

4. jipspagoda says:

One of my favorites! Regretfully I had been crediting it to Arthur C Clarke. oops

• I think you will find that the original ‘author’ to this is long lost in history