It is said, in the Lord of the Flies for example, that the greatest ideas are the simplest. This sentiment bears some resemblance to Occam’s razor. Often called the law of parsimony, it asserts that the best explanations have the fewest assumptions. The practical application being that simple predictions are easier to test.

Some fields, literary criticism comes to mind, thrive on incomprehension. Simple simply won’t do. Careful pruning is apparently abhorred because of the fear that it will eliminate all traces of intellectual residue.

Psychology, fortunately, treads on firmer ground. That said, the phenomena we study are difficult to measure, our samples are often truncated, and our comprehension of the multiplicity of underlying causes is rudimentary at best.

Keep it simple is my advice. It’s a better path to explanatory power.

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