Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kenneth Allen Hopf Quote

"As long as your theory isn't logically or apodictically false, some evidence somewhere will be consistent with it. Of course, that same evidence will be consistent with many other theories, perhaps infinitely many others, as well. Furthermore, there is typically nothing we can actually use in probability theory that resolves the question of which theory is most likely true. This simple logical circumstance, I believe, is responsible for most of the deliberate mistakes that people make, not only in the way they think about theories and evidence but also in their personal life. The idea that evidence supports our theory is so seductive partly because we are fooled by the seeming simplicity with which we perceive our environment. We are unaware of the long and bloody road by which evolution brought us to the present. Beyond that, however, the idea of evidential support effectively frees us, within very broad limits, to believe whatever we want to believe while at the same time giving us the excuse that our opinions are entirely evidence based and therefore in some sense scientific. Generally speaking, people cannot resist the temptation to believe that reality is pretty much what they think it is. Therein lies the source of most of the resistance to the philosophy of Popper, for he defended the idea that we ought to adopt an ethic of systemic resistance to our own gullibility." -- Kenneth Allen Hopf

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