Sunday, October 29, 2017

Of facts and theories

"I have no data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts"
Sherlock Holmes
Yes, Mr Holmes has hit upon the dilemma of various reasoning strategies:
  • Inductive reasoning: from a specific observation to a generalization of causation
  • Deductive reasoning: from a generalized theory to a predicted set of specifics
As he correctly posits, inductive reasoning is hazardous. Just a slight error in facts, or in fashioning causation, or most frequently confusing causation with correlation, may lead to quite incorrect theories.

Thus, the strength of Bayes reasoning (*), a form of deductive reasoning. Aren't we all Bayesians?

Look up Bayes Theory on Wikipedia; it's means of deducing conditions which are predictive of facts, a form of statistical reasoning.

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