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It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment. Options
Daemon
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM
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It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)
Bully_rus
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 2:18:46 AM
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Quote:
"No data yet," he answered. "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."

It is like cooking on an empty griddle. All the evidence of course is a waste of time and resources but critical mass of evidence is of vital importance. Bon appétit!
MTC
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 5:53:30 AM
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Doyle used nearly the same expression in two different stories:

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."
A Study in Scarlet, Part 1, chap. 3, p. 27

"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."
A Scandal in Bohemia, Page 163

I couldn't agree more. It's always baffled me why many insurance claims people proceed in the opposite direction.



pedro
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 6:12:07 AM
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'It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.'


Scientists would dismiss this quote as nonsense as you never have all the evidence. Your 'biased judgements' will disappear if they are rigorously tested and found to be wrong. But you have to have a theory to test in the first place.

Verbatim
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 8:03:19 AM
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Daemon wrote:
It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)


On the generality of it, it can't be theorized as right, but it will splendidly serve specifically for Conan Doyle's purpose.
jcbarros
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:23:03 AM

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A basic tenet of the judicial proceeding.
early_apex
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:53:27 AM
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pedro wrote:
'It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.'


Scientists would dismiss this quote as nonsense as you never have all the evidence. Your 'biased judgements' will disappear if they are rigorously tested and found to be wrong. But you have to have a theory to test in the first place.



That was my initial reaction to the quote. Many remarks are made about assumptions, but assumptions are always part of theorizing. What is most important is to make note of the assumptions that you made when you formed your hypothesis and to remember that they were assumptions only.
MTC
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:07:44 AM
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pedro wrote:

"Scientists would dismiss this quote as nonsense as you never have all the evidence. Your 'biased judgements' (sic) will disappear if they are rigorously tested and found to be wrong. But you have to have a theory to test in the first place."

Holmes let a chain of deductions from all the available evidence lead him to a criminal. He did not start his investigations with a hypothesis about who that criminal might be. In the two quotations above he explains that in his investigations he wishes to avoid the hazards of what we now call confirmation bias; "twist(ing) facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

Holmes was a detective--not a scientist. The detective's task is to identify a particular criminal or criminals with all the forensic evidence that could be practicably discovered--but still a limited amount--in a limited amount of time. The scientist's (basic physics researcher's) task is to discover general laws behind natural phenomena with an unlimited amount of evidence (practically speaking) in an unlimited amount of time. Therefore, the goals of detectives and scientists and the limitations they work under greatly differ.

Additionally, their methods often differ. Detectives may employ the scientific method, but are not bound by it. There is no requirement to hypothesize ("theorize" in Holmes' words) who committed a crime before starting an investigation. Of course, many real detectives do work that way, but Holmes' signature method was pure deduction. He is arguably the most famous fictional proponent of the deductive method in history. Scientists, on the other hand, generally follow the scientific method which requires they test a hypothesis against the facts. Basically, they make a guess, and see if it "works" with the evidence. Holmes eschewed the guess. He was brilliantly successful without it.

For the purposes of scientific discovery the scientific method has proved most useful. But, to say "Scientists would dismiss this quote as nonsense" is to invite an unfair comparison between two different disciplines with two different goals. What is appropriate for a scientist is not necessarily appropriate for a detective.

pedro
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:31:38 AM
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Scientists don't 'make a guess'. They will have existing theories which observations might seem to contradict. This might often require minor tweaking of an existing theory but might mean that completely new concepts need to be embraced (think first encounters with magnetism or the double slit experiment). Until you have a definitive result you are, in the absence of sufficient evidence, in the probability zone as is Holmes without all the jigsaw pieces. Without sufficient evidence deduction can only take you so far. For the sake of crime literature it is probably as well that there wasn't much in the way of forensic science in Conan Doyle's day. I like his Holmes books enough to forgive him his apparent belief in fairies.
Runi
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 5:54:13 PM

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Daemon wrote:
It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)


Allow me to "paraphrase" (before heading to bed)...

It is a capital mistake to conclude before you have all the evidence.
excaelis
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:47:14 PM

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MTC wrote:


Doyle used nearly the same expression in two different stories:

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."
A Study in Scarlet, Part 1, chap. 3, p. 27

"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."
A Scandal in Bohemia, Page 163

I couldn't agree more. It's always baffled me why many insurance claims people proceed in the opposite direction.





Tangent :

Could I legitimately challenge an insurance company that denied a claim because it was an " Act of God " to prove that such a being exists and that said being did, in fact, cause the damage in question ?
MTC
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:14:22 PM
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excaelis wrote:


Tangent :

Could I legitimately challenge an insurance company that denied a claim because it was an " Act of God " to prove that such a being exists and that said being did, in fact, cause the damage in question ?


A tangent, but an amusing tangent. The answer is, you could, but you probably wouldn't get far with that argument considering the legal definition of "Act of God:"

Act of God
An event that directly and exclusively results from the occurrence of natural causes that could not have been prevented by the exercise of foresight or caution; an inevitable accident.

Courts have recognized various events as acts of God—tornadoes, earthquakes, death, extraordinarily high tides, violent winds, and floods. Many insurance policies for property damage exclude from their protection damage caused by acts of God.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

So not God at all, but "nature." Blame "nature" and call it "God." It's convenient, right? Nature doesn't answer back, audibly anyway.

However, the usual disclaimer applies. Please don't consider my remarks legal advice. If your claim means enough, consult with a lawyer familiar with insurance claims to examine the facts of your particular case, and give you an opinion about your legal rights. Some attorneys may consult with you for free. It may be, for instance, that even considering the general definition of "Act of God" given above, your claim was improperly denied. The courts in your jurisdiction may have interpreted the phrase "Act of God" in a way that favors your claim. Or, your claim may have been improperly denied for other reasons. There are many possibilities you have not thought of that an attorney may catch. That's why we consult with experts, isn't it. Regardless, there are time limits to appeal the insurance company's decision or take other legal action. Act promptly to avoid losing any rights you may have. (Obligatory tape ends here.) Best wishes, excaelis.

As for pedro's remarks, I'll concede "educated guess;" "A hypothesis is an educated guess or proposition that attempts to explain a set of facts or natural phenomenon. It is used mostly in the field of science, where the scientific method is used to test it."
http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples/examples-of-hypothesis.html
But perhaps even that concession goes too far. I think scientists cast the sometimes chaotic, amorphic nature of their thought processes in the mold of the scientific method after the fact to legitimize their discoveries in the eyes of their peers. Some of the major discoveries in science (e.g. Special Relativity, the Benzene ring, etc.) appear to have been made by a combination of imagination, intuition, and subconscious thought processes outside the comfort zone of scientists who feel safer with convention.


excaelis
Posted: Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:18:09 PM

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Time limits on God ? Perish the thought ! And how can they be definitively sure that the Devil didn't do it ? ( Hey, if you believe in one...)
Skyoe
Posted: Friday, September 20, 2013 3:14:03 AM
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Daemon wrote:
It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.



Does "judgment" have to have anything to do with "theorize"?

"Judgment" means "capacity for making decisions", etymologically; "theorize" is just "form a thoery or theories about something".

pedro
Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 7:37:15 AM
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For what it's worth here, excaelis, is my variant of the ontological proof of god's existence-

1. If there wasn't a god we would have to invent him
2...But we have invented him
3. Therefore he exists
MTC
Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 7:50:55 PM
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I came across the following irreverent remark about the scientific method by a scientist in a TED talk:

"What does real scientific work look like? As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein jokes: It looks a lot less like the scientific method and a lot more like 'farting around … in the dark.'”

See http://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_firestein_the_pursuit_of_ignorance.html?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=button__2013-09-24







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