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omeganaut comments on Explaining vs. Explaining Away - Less Wrong

46 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 March 2008 01:59AM

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Comment author: omeganaut 12 May 2011 06:06:01PM 0 points [-]

The disconnect here appears to derive from the fact that reductionists have models of the interactions of particles in their minds, which as a system produce the reality we observe directly. Anti-reductionists fail to see that reductionists are accepting the larger model while saying it is composed of items that are not all the same. Also, many are not ready to be able to have a model of reality in which the tiger is composed of interactions that are unbelievably small and have no particular connection to a tiger. When a hostile anti-reductionist attacks reductionism, a reductionist learn to accept that some people have difficulty seeing a rainbow as anything other than a whole rainbow, and cannot see that the systems that make up a rainbow are not modeled so that they are part of a rainbow. The goal should be to agree to disagree, that reductionists can continue to see their component systems, and anti-reductionists can focus on the system as a whole.

Comment author: thomblake 12 May 2011 10:17:36PM 1 point [-]

The goal should be to agree to disagree,

While sometimes disagreements are unresolvable, that should never be the goal.

The goal here is to have true beliefs - an accurate map of the world. While it may be appropriate to use different models in different contexts (since models necessarily leave out some details of the things they're modeling), we should not disagree about the contents of a well-defined model.

Disagreements are an opportunity to find out where you're wrong. Ideally, both parties emerge from them in agreement.