Now I won't be making the case that my brain is wired better than yours, because it has always been my belief that the ability to think up cartoons involves a high degree of mental short-circuiting. But it seems to me that there are some basic dichotomies in the way people understand the world, and one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES is Occam's Razor. I don't know why it's called that, and I'm not even sure if I understand it properly, but I define the terms around here, so today it means what I'm about to say it means.
For those of us who can't remember EVERY single detail of what we read, it's a way of processing evidence. Basically Mr. Razor says that in assessing a complex pile of data, the simplest unifying explanation is presumed to have a higher probability of being right. For example, you can come up with a model that explains solar and planetary movement with the earth at the center of the universe, and THEY DID, but the heliocentric model just works better, so it gets the presumption.
Evolution is another one. The fossil, genetic and physiological evidence CAN be configured in ways that contradict evolution if you furrow your brow and clench your lips hard enough, but evolution is such a vastly more coherent way to unify the data that fixating on bits of outlying or incomplete data is just kinda peculiar. My contention here is that some brains naturally flow towards the coherent model of available evidence, and others are predisposed to seize on stray data and preconceptions to maintain fanciful worldviews. And where am I going with this? Climate-change evidence. Whichever way you're wired, you knew that. --Tom Toles
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