Do good explanations have to be true? ("good explanations" (what…
Do good explanations have to be true?
what makes an explanation good?
the way it is written? (grammar, vocab, conciseness); is it persuasive and logical?
depends on needs of the audience: does it make sense?
approved by intended audience? (people in ancient greece would have different standards for explanations for weather than people nowadays)
benefits the most people? (utilitarianism, utility: the most useful)
what is an explanation?
an explanation is something that simplifies a set of facts or makes it more understandable
is a true explanation always better than an untrue explanation?
analogies are effective but untrue explanations, does this mean they can't be used?
can use analogies to make certain theories and ideas clearer, so it can still be good and effective in educating people even without being wholly true
crude and simplified explanations, though partially untrue because of the details it omits, are still good explanations to non-experts because it gets the main point across
deception, especially in analogies, can be a effective tool for explanation, despite it not being truthful
what counts as "true"?
can be unanimously agreed upon, observable, measurable, backed by empirical evidence
how do we know what is true?
logical, can be confirmed in real life by undeniable and observable evidence
what's the difference between true and good?
true: is consistent with evidence in the real world
good: effective in transmitting information and decrypting formerly incomprehensible information
"have to be true"
what are the consequences of using a good but untrue explanation?
if you use analogies, you can make it explicit that this isn't an entirely accurate explanation to avoid misconceptions but still get the main point across
people being led astray by false information in explanations e.g. DNA isn't actually like a ladder in real life
good explanations can be untrue and still avoid spreading false information if someone follows up the untrue explanation with the true explanation. After the untrue explanation, the listener would have understood the main point, and would thus be more capable of understanding the truth. e.g. after explaining that DNA is like a ladder (untrue), explain why it would be like a ladder, because it has a double-helix structure (true)
does a explanation need the prerequisite of being true in order to be good?