Watch Out for Superficial Thinking

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I hate my boss because my boss thinks superficially.

You’re working on a complex project and things aren’t going as you’ve all anticipated.  You have an all-hands meeting to discuss what’s causing the problem.  You all bring up patterns you’ve seen, observations are made.  Your boss mentally clamps onto one concept, you idea of what is causing all this.  But it’s really not all that deep an explanation of what’s going on.  It’s kind of like this situation below…

So, if we see something like laptop sells declining while iPads are selling like hotcakes, we often jump to the conclusion that people are buying iPads instead of laptops. The actual cause of declining laptop sells could be that the economy is keeping some people from buying them, others are pretty happy with their current laptops and feel no need to upgrade, some are increasingly using their smartphones for email and bill paying and no longer see the need for laptops, and, of course, some people may be buying iPads instead of laptops.

Hopefully I am not telling you something totally new. Rather, my intention is to remind you that it is so easy for us to jump to conclusions rather than really thinking things through. We can do it without ever realizing it. Again, we are wired to do this, because being quick at determining a cause often meant the difference between life and death to our ancestors.

via Watch Out for Superficial Thinking.

Conclusions and causations.  Sometimes the obvious isn’t obvious at all.

Coincidences occur because there are always a lot of things occurring at any point of time.

There are a lot of things occurring at any given moment.  Time is moment after moment.  Therefore there are a lot of things occurring before other things occur.  Just because there is an occurrence before an event does not mean the occurrence caused the event.

The fact that many events are happening all at the same time and events occur event after event leaves many wrong candidates for causation.  It’s quite easy to find false attributions to causes.

What I’ve found really healthy is being quietly skeptical of any attribution to something causing something else.

Also, instead of seeing things causing things in a more or less one to one ratio, I try to remind myself to think, this may be a factor in that occurring.

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