Black & White ..No we live in a full colour world
A quote from Ben Goldacre..
"I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that"
used to be "I think you'll find it's not quite as simple as that !
the T shirt
BEWARE SIMPLE EXPLANATIONS ...
he was getting annoyed by poor thinkers arguments who had a oversimplistic view of the world
- The thing is our brains are programmed to look for the simplest explanations ..that's why they can see faces in the patterns in the wallpaper.
"There is always an easy solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong."
or "For every complex situation there is an explanation which is simple, neat and wrong." H.L. Mencken
- Complexity Denial - In looking at the world in a black & white we rush to latch onto dogmas like religion, communism, greenism which seem to give magic solutions for everything. Instead of just picking a side & sticking to it we have to learn to hold back :& say "I don't know"
e.g. A lot of people become attached to GREEN in the same way as a religion as it's much easier than analysing the science of each point. I call this complexity denial.
- My thoughts : Before we travel we live in a Black and White world : "We say things like "American are rich", "Indians are poor", "Women are good at multitasking",
but after I travelled I realised that the world is the full colour of the rainbow
.. We can't say "Italians are ..." cos that is denying the huge rainbow range of Italians, there is not one Italian way of thinking
.. we have to qualify our generalisations
e.g. Don't say "British people are punctual", " More British people are punctual than is common in most countires", (cos some British people are always late etc)
..accepting these generalisations leads us to have a false picture of the world "British people like watching football and drinking beer".. well actually on a Saturday even though 20% of people might be watching football and drinking beer 80% aren't ..
We have a particular problem in assuming a whole population do something when in fact its a noticeable minority.
e.g. most Americans are not grossly overwaeight even though a large group are
..but how we love our simple explanations
- When it comes to jobs and sexism etc. it's important that people are recognised to be individuals not labelled with a group tag
- Note how that is an example of how tempting it is to slip into false dichotomy saying that there are 2 different options like black & white instead acknowlodging the full colour complexity i.e. we split the world into men vs women, or "them" vs "us".
- Instead of making simplistic assumptions about the sexes it could be acknowledges that there are much more than 2 sexes ..i.e. the world is not just made up of men & women who want to marry and have children as well as all forms of gays & transgender there are plenty of people who don't want to have to have children or cannot. Indeed as humans evolved as complex apes communities they are not just pair breeders like swans ..there maybe good reasons why gays & people who don't want children evolved.
There is more on this 406 Planet Nonsense is where I live
- Be particularly careful about applying black and white thinking to politics ..usually things are not what they first seem.. just when you think you understand it new revealations appear
Politics is like a Russian doll within another Russian doll ... there are common things like getting the left and Greens pre-occuppied with nuclear power, or war ..while you slip other things past them .. and people pretending to be green turn out to be the least green in practice