Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

15 Extra IQ Points


When designing an experiment to invalidate an hypothesis, we first agree on the conclusion of the experiment, then run the experiment.

If the experiment rejects our hypothesis, we have some extra cleverness allowing us to find a sensible explanation of how this experiment did not reject our hypothesis after all.

It shows that the scientific method cannot be naively summarized into simply trying to reject hypothesis using experiments (and failing to). Because there are cognitive bias that need to be mitigated to do this properly.

This phenomenon is explaining by the fact that reasoning is forward. We have an hypothesis and see its conclusions. The experiment that would reject our hypothesis would need an extra wrinkle to be explained (covera). This is hard to guess this extra wrinkle1, and also this experiment is often suggested by someone considered as the opponent party. So the lazy solution is to simply admit that this experiment would reject the hypothesis and see what will happen. When the result of the experiment contradict the hypothesis, it is now a constraint on our hypothesis. It becomes much easier to think backward and add the extra wrinkle that explains how it actually does not contradict our hypothesis.

we don’t fail to admit we are wrong, we simply fail in realizing that the experiment will not reject our hypothesis.

we can explain stuff that we cannot anticipate.

Notes linking here

  1. or else the experiment would not contradict our hypothesis, ↩︎