Poincaré on chance

“A very small cause which escapes her notice determines a considerable effect that we cannot fail to see, and then we say the effect is due to chance.” — Henri Poincaré, Science and Method
This is something I have pointed out here repeatedly. When someone says that the cause or explanation for some event is “chance,” they have turned a word which, when properly used, should be understood to mean “we don’t know what caused that event,” into the name of a cause itself.  It is as though our ignorance of the true cause of some event is causing the event!


Science has explained some things very nicely. But scientism attempts to move from that to the claim that “the only good explanation is a scientific explanation.”
It is like moving from the fact that a hammer is a good tool for some jobs to the claim that “the only good tool is a hammer.”

Callahan’s principle of claim parsimony

When writing a paper, restrict yourself to one controversial claim: the main one the paper is designed to forward. Don't throw in other controversial claims as offhand remarks!

So, if you are trying to convince chemists that they have made a mistake in determining the formula for some compound, don't mention, in passing, "Oh, and obviously the moon landing was faked."

Welcome to Apple password hell

You buy into the Apple "eco-system," and wind up with three Macs, an iPhone, and a couple of Apple TVs. They are all supposed to connect to the same Apple account. And they all automatically store and use your password... until something happens. Like you get an new device, or hookup to a different cable provider... and then you need to re-enter the password you've forgotten, since it was so conveniently stored for you.


So you get the password wrong three times, so Apple forces you to change it... to something different than any of your last N passwords. Ok, so what? Well, you have to re-enter it on every device... including that one you only pull out in emergencies. But, by the time you use it again, well, you've been using your stored password for months, and so you type it wrong three times, and Apple forces you to re-set it!


Nine stories up

Now I can see the light of day The Verrazano Bridge so far awayIn the yard the machines playAnd I think I’m falling down
Looking over that old canalLooking for just one true palAin’t nothing to see unusualNine stories up but I’m gonna drown

Not All Rules Can Be Made Explicit

Sometimes libertarians, such as Walter Block, suggest that if something isn't explicitly forbidden in a law (or contract), it is permitted. Why this can't work:

The point is rather obvious, isn’t it?